‘What if I was there?’: JCPS 7th grader running late narrowly missed being at deadly bus stop shooting

Student says he narrowly missed bus stopped shooting, Families worry about youth crime
Student says he narrowly missed bus stopped shooting, Families worry about youth crime(WAVE3 News)
Published: Sep. 22, 2021 at 11:11 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Louisville is the only large city in America that’s had its three deadliest years since 2016, according to crime expert Josh Crawford with the Pegasus Institute.

16-year-old Tyree Smith was killed and two other Jefferson County Public Schools students were injured in a drive-by shooting at the Russell school bus stop where, until Wednesday morning, they likely thought they were safe.


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The number of juveniles becoming victims of violent crime is having a chilling effect on Louisville parents and students. A JCPS 7th grader who did not want to be named told WAVE 3 News he waits for the bus at the same stop where Smith and the two other kids were shot.

“I was scared thinking, ‘What if I was there?’” the student said.

The 7th grader’s mom also didn’t want to be named, but said there was a reason her son had not yet made it to the bus stop before the shooting happened around 6:15 a.m.

“Usually, he’s already and the bus stop and that time,” she said. “He was running behind with his ride. Thank the Lord they were running late.”

Though they are surrounded by crime, the child’s mom said she has tried to modify their lives to avoid it.

“I don’t let him stay at the house at night by himself, I bring him to my friend’s house, who brings him to the bus stop in the morning,” she said. “I’m blessed because someone lost their life today. I feel sorry for that person and their parent. I’m able to see my child and that parent not able to see their child. It’s unfortunate these kids have to go through this stuff every single day in this city.”

Even hours after the dismissal bell rang on Wednesday, families like Ryan Brown and his daughter Trinity Clarke still felt the aftershock of Smith’s death.

“We just want the violence to stop with our kids,” Brown said. “We just want peace in our community.”

He said the family of five went to church to pray about it and that at Kingdom Fellowship Church, Clarke had the opportunity to talk with kids her age about what she sees inside and outside of school.

“I’m sad for the family and whoever else got shot with them and the other person who didn’t die — glad it was only one, but not glad that is happened,” Clarke said. “I’m thankful that it wasn’t one of my siblings. It’s not, but it could’ve been.”

Counselors from the JCPS are available to help students dealing with the aftereffects of Wednesday’s shooting.

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