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2020 marks ‘deadliest 5-year period in our city’s history’

Updated: Dec. 30, 2020 at 9:25 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A year of record deadly violence in Louisville comes to an end with few clear ideas of what 2021 might hold.

As of Wednesday morning, 2020 had brought 171 homicides; 585 people had been wounded by gun violence. Of those homicide victims, 136 were male, and 95 were under the age of 30.

The community anti-violence group Game Changers released the numbers for a bloody year in which every division in LMPD’s jurisdiction saw increased numbers from 2019. Most victims were treated at UofL’s Trauma Center, where doctors are now bracing for more repeat patients.

”We’ve established that 15 percent of patients that sustain a gunshot wound in Jefferson County will be shot again within a 10-year period of time,” UofL trauma surgeon Dr. Keith Miller said. “If you look at specific subgroups, that number skyrockets to 35 percent, or one in three. And that is heartbreaking and that’s a systemic failure.”

COVID-19 is blamed in part for the violence as health precautions have limited police contact with the community, and schools have been closed.

But the deadly spike already was in motion prior to 2020, and the bloodshed was unrelenting.

”2015 through 2019 was tied for the deadliest five years in Louisville’s history,” Pegasus Institute Executive Director Josh Crawford said. “And if you bump that forward one year now, 2016 through 2020, that is by far the deadliest five-year period in our city’s history. And that is not just driven by this year.”

Kim Jarboe, a TARC bus driver, was victim No. 103 in a year of out-of-control homicides. Jarboe was an anti-violence activist, driven to bring peace to the city after her own teenaged son, Anthony Elliott, was shot and killed years ago.

”Even though I grieved really hard for my grandson,” Ann Keene, Jarboe’s mother, said, “I had no idea how she really felt until now that I’ve lost her.”

Keene said she looks to the new year and prays other families will not know her pain.

“Just take it one day at a time,” she said. “Sometimes I’m one hour at a time just to get through it. She was my very close friend. And I’ve lost her.”

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