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Family mourns third member lost to gun violence

Wilmington WECT logo Wilmington WECT 2/28/2022 Kassie Simmons
Tammy Hayes was shot and killed on Saturday, making her the third person in the family to die by gun violence. © Provided by Wilmington WECT Tammy Hayes was shot and killed on Saturday, making her the third person in the family to die by gun violence.

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - A shooting over the weekend left a Wilmington family heartbroken as family members asked for the third time why there’s so much gun violence in the community.

The Hayes family has had far more than its fair share of heartbreak.

“I lost my only son to senseless gun violence,” said Yolanda Hayes. “This is what our family is dealing with. [He was] a scar, my nephew was a scar...”

This weekend, those old wounds were ripped open again as another shooting broke out. This one took the life of Yolanda’s sister, Tammy Hayes.

“She was the life of the party,” said Hayes. “She had the biggest smile. She was always smiling, all the time.”

Her last memory of Tammy is a sweet one: getting lunch and making a shopping trip. Their last words to each other were, “I love you.”

“I was just so happy, going in the house,” said Hayes. “I was so happy we’ve been hanging out lately.”

Hours later, Tammy Hayes was gunned down outside of a club at 1:30 a.m.

“That’s when we broke. Her kids broke. My mom broke. Everybody just broke because we were just like, ‘For what? Why?’ This was over a bump in the club, this was senseless.”

To make matters worse, it’s almost three years to the day that Yolanda’s son was gunned down. She planned to mark the occasion by handing out sneakers to kids in the neighborhood in his honor, hoping to pass on the effort to end gun violence.

Tammy’s alleged killer, Keisha Baldwin, was arrested hours after the incident and is behind bars without bond. For that, Yolanda Hayes is thankful. Her son’s killer was never caught, so she hopes this time, her family will see justice served.

“You took my sister away from us for nothing. The decision that you made that night to use that gun and take my sister’s life for no apparent reason — you’re wrong,” said Hayes. “I feel like she just needs to get whatever comes to her. First-degree murder, capital murder — so you will never see the light of day.”

Now, the Hayes family hopes that next time, someone steps in before it’s too late.

“Open your mouth and step up and say that this is not it,” said Hayes. “It’s devastation behind these guns.”

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