Cemetery serves as grim reminder of the toll gun violence takes

Cemetery reminds many of true cost of Louisville violence

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Fifty-eight people have been killed in Louisville so far in 2019 and the list keeps growing.

In the midst of this gun violence crisis, we turn to the numbers and trends to gauge how bad it’s become, but in doing that, some say we miss the big picture.

To see those numbers in a more tangible way, one often has to look past the red and blue lights, wait until the crime scene tape has been taken down, and maybe even take a walk through a cemetery -- like Green Meadows.

At Green Meadows Cemetery, there’s a story everywhere you look, a lifetime of love and memories. But some are shorter than others.

“Look at the situation in the cemetery as powerful evidence of how deep the violent crime problem has been,” victims’ advocate Christopher 2X said.

A large number of those buried in Green Meadows were victims of the violence gripping Louisville.

“They got cheated, they got robbed because of this reckless gun play,” 2X said.

He believes about half of those killed by violent crime since 2003 have been laid to rest in Green Meadows.

“It’s not pretty at all,” 2X said. “I’ve never seen a year that I would describe as real relief from this problem.”

Antonio Tharpe was shot and killed in Beecher Terrace just a few days before he was to start college. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Antonio Tharpe was shot and killed in Beecher Terrace just a few days before he was to start college. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

2X has supported a large number of families while they wrap their minds around what happened and he can’t help but find dozens of familiar names while walking through the rows. One sticks out in his memory -- 17-year-old Antonio Tharpe.

“Antonio’s been gone 11 years in August,” his mother Teri Tharpe said. “He was on his way to UK and he was gunned down in the Beecher Terrace housing projects.”

Antonio Tharpe was shot and killed in 2008, just a few days before he was supposed to start college at UK.

“It took me to a dark place. It took me to where I didn’t know if I was coming or going, you know?” his mom said. “I didn’t want to live, even though I had other kids, it was just something inside of me that I just couldn’t believe somebody literally took my baby’s life.”

Although Teri Tharpe still feels the pain like it was yesterday, a decade has passed and she believes the violent crime problem hasn’t gotten any better.

“It’s been bad out here,” she said. “We have a dark cloud over our city and it’s going to continue to be that way until something happens.”

WAVE 3 News reached out to the cemetery for more specific numbers on how many homicide victims are buried in Green Meadows, but has not gotten an answer.

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