JACKSON, Miss. – Kennedy Hobbs was a young woman who was just starting her life.
An entrepreneur, she started her own waxing business at the age of 17. In a video posted to Facebook, William Edwards, Hobbs’ uncle, said she was preparing to do the right things and had a bright future.
“This is where Kennedy was supposed to grow up and be successful and do her thing,” he said, showing her small studio, Kaay’s Waxing Bar.
The 18-year-old was gunned down around 10:45 p.m. Tuesday at a Texaco gas station in Jackson, said Sam Brown, spokesperson for the Jackson Police Department.
Brown said Hobbs suffered multiple gunshot wounds and died at the scene. Four witnesses were brought in for questioning Wednesday, he said, and the agency is currently searching for a possible suspect in the case. No other details have been released.
Family and friends called on city officials and law enforcement Wednesday to do more to solve her murder and address Jackson’s growing crime rate.
Roughly two dozen people gathered on the Jackson Police Department headquarters steps to listen to the family’s pleas less than 24 hours after Hobbs’ death.
Edwards said Wednesday during the event that the family is still trying to process what happened. Jackson Police Department detectives have not revealed any details about their investigation to the family thus far, he said.
Edwards said he believed no outside agencies had been asked to assist with the investigation, which was frustrating for him and other family members.
“Why isn’t (the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) out here? Why isn’t (the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation) out here,” he said. “We haven’t been told anything.”
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Crime in the city of Jackson has skyrocketed in recent years. The city is on target to surpass its homicide record of 130, set just last year. Edwards said Hobbs’ family wants Jackson to become a safer city for its young people.
“She’s not just my niece or just her dad’s child or her mother’s child: she’s all our children,” Edwards said.
Edwards said there are too many high-powered guns on the streets in Jackson and he feels police should focus on trying to get the situation under control.
“I’m all for the right to bear arms,” he said, “but at what cost?”
Dwayne Pickett, pastor of New Jerusalem Church in Jackson, said Hobbs’ loss was tragic, but felt it also marked a point for the community to take a stand against the rising violence around the city.
“Kennedy’s life and death could be a defining moment in our city,” he said. “This is the moment were we say that an honors student was gunned down in our city and we said ‘no more.'”
Pickett said the community needs to come together and think of solutions, including ways to provide more constructive outlets for young people across the city. By getting youths involved in programs and other activities that stop them from turning to violence, the city as a whole can improve, he said.
“There’s no way for us to change anything unless we come together,” he said. “It’s time for us to lay down our issues and ask one another: ‘How do we fight for our children?'”