COLUMBUS, Ga – We are only 18 days into the New Year and there have already been two suspected gang-related shootings that have taken the lives of two Columbus residents. On January 7th, 22 -year -old Dominique Horton was shot and killed and on Monday 17-year-old Destiny Nelson was shot and killed.
Columbus Police believe both deaths were gang related.
Lorraine Washington, Dominique Horton’s Grandmother, is mourning the loss of her grandson.
Washington says it’s a shame that parents aren’t monitoring their kids anymore.
Lieutenant Roderick Graham from the Columbus Police Department says there are gangs in Columbus and that they’re targeting kids at younger ages to join them.
Graham says some kids join these gangs for a since of belonging.
“Sometimes the kids reach out to other kids and they may already be involved in high risk behavior, which is commonly referred to as gang activity, but a lot of times the kids are looking for something because there is an absence at home or in their family life,” said Graham.
If you suspect your child is at risk of joining a gang there are a few things you can look out for.
Graham said “See if there’s a change in the child’s wardrobe, see if there’s a change in the way they communicate to the parents or to other siblings and see if there are any gang symbols or graffiti in the child’s room, clothes or book bag.”
Meanwhile, Washington hopes her loss will motivate the community to step up.
Washington said, “It’s time for us parents to search our kids…see what’s going on, stay in their lives, but not only the parents, the community.”
Police believe the killing of Destiny Nelson may have been connected with Dominique Horton’s death.
They say Nelson’s death was a part of gang retaliation and a case of mistaken identity.
The Washington’s say they’ve never met or heard of her before.
All they want is justice for their son and time to heal from their pain.