KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — David Gillette has lost three family members to gun violence this year. His cousin, Martaysha Flack is the latest victim. Flack was shot and killed Wednesday at the Holston Oaks apartment complex.
“She was full of life, joy, laughter; beautiful person to be around. Pretty much the life of the party,” Gillette said.
His other cousin, Jamarion Gillette was fatally shot in March. Then almost two weeks ago, his cousin Chaka Sligh was shot in East Knoxville and died shortly after her arrival at UT Medical Center. With these tragedies happening back to back, David says his family just wants a chance to heal.
“The family is still recovering from Dada’s loss, the family is still recovering from all the other loss that we’ve had going on. Right now, it’s pretty much an emotional roller coaster. I mean there’s a lot of hurt. There’s a lot of anger; there’s a lot of unanswered questions the family wants to know. The question is why,” Gillette said.
It’s the same question 28 other families in the city of Knoxville are asking. That’s how many lives have been taken due to violence this year.
“There are trust issues between the community and the Knoxville Police Department. There are trust issues between our community and our city government. It’s to the point now where we’re going to have to figure out how to tear down the walls,” Gillette said.
Until then, this family’s healing process starts over. Martaysha, now added to their list of angels. Gillette says she leaves behind a child.
“I know God works in mysterious ways, and they always say to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord so as I tell my family if they’re watching this interview, she’s still with us. The only thing that has changed is her address,” Gillette said.
The shooting is still under investigation. The family has not yet made funeral arrangements for Martaysha.