Before the Casket: Omaha activists highlight the impacts of gun violence

Organizations in Omaha are targeting gun violence
Organizations in Omaha are targeting gun violence
Published: Aug. 28, 2022 at 11:26 AM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Gun violence in America has taken the lives of many.

In Omaha, community organizations and activists are doing what they can to curb those senseless deaths and make a difference.

“The person that shot my son one time, one bullet to his chest, took him out,” said Bajah Pittman, mother of shooting victim, Vincent Burns.

“I want you to imagine your mother standing here. And I want you to imagine her tears rolling down her face because she doesn’t get to go home and see her child.”

She along with other community members spoke to a crowd of about a hundred people sitting in the pews of Pleasant Green Baptist Church.

The event was called ‘Before the Casket.’ It was a gun violence prevention presentation, designed to bring awareness about how homicide affects not just the person murdered, but first responders and community as well.

The collaboration was spearheaded by the Omega Psi Phi fraternity and the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement.

First in the order to present among first responders to a shooting, the homicide detective: “I withdraw. It put my relationship with my wife on the rocks. I was missing birthdays. I was missing holidays. I was missing dinners,” said Detective David Preston Jr.

Then the paramedic: “I start to think about is there anything I could have done more? That starts to eat at me for a while, especially when you’re passionate about this job and the service,” said Tradell Berry with the Omaha Fire Department.

The coroner: “The things that we see. First responder, I always say I’m the last responder,” Gerone Hobbs, Pulaski County coroner.

The surrounding business: “A tragic incident happens, and it cuts your margin more than 80% of what you were making,” said Eric Austin, owner of Jet Sports Bar where Burns was killed in the parking lot.

The pastor: “We’re gathered in the house, and we got to stand and share a word of encouragement to a family that has this much room, this much strength,” said Pastor Brian Page.

And of course, the family: “It’s a cycle that doesn’t stop. And now this mother is crying. And this mother is crying. And this sister is crying, because her brother’s gone,” said Pittman.

Organizers hope this event deters the next person from picking up a gun, to think twice about the impact that it could have on the many people affected by gun violence.