Woman calls for end of ‘senseless’ gun violence after sister, son killed years apart

A family in Wilmington is speaking out against gun violence after one woman was shot and killed over the weekend.

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A family in Wilmington is speaking out against gun violence after one woman was shot and killed over the weekend.

Wilmington Police say 45-year-old Tammy Hayes was shot and killed in the early morning hours on Saturday after what her family says was a simple argument in a club on 5th Street. Police arrested 30-year-old Keisha Baldwin, charging her with first-degree murder.

The devastated family gathered at Tammy’s sister Yolanda Hayes’ home on Monday, grieving and hoping for justice. Tammy’s oldest daughter Latifah Canty spoke candidly about the woman charged with her mother’s murder.

“You took my mama! That was my best friend. That was my best friend. You really took my mama over something petty,” Canty said.

Hayes’ family are no strangers to gun violence after losing two others in shootings in the last three years, including Yolanda’s 18-year-old son Zalleux Johnson who was shot and killed outside the Creekwood Community Center in February 2019. Tammy was killed within days of the three-year anniversary of his death.

“Everybody was on high anxiety for that [anniversary]. That came and went and we were relieved. On February 26, I’m an ambassador with Rock Wit Me, Inc and we have a Black History Month sneaker drive in honor of ZJ. So, that night I was anticipating going there the next day, giving the kids their sneakers, and talking about ZJ. The same day…my sister died of senseless gun violence,” Yolanda said. “Now we have to rally around each other once again. Build each other up because we’re dealing with this all over again.”

The family also lost Aleek Bryant in 2020 after he was shot to death in Raleigh.

This time another mother, Tammy’s mother Sherry Hayes, is grieving the loss of a child.

“When I lost my child, when they took her life, I felt like I wanted to be the one gone and not her. If I could bring her back and take her place, I would,” Sherry said.

The family is pleading for an end to gun violence so no other family has to experience their pain.

“Nobody around us lately is dying from natural causes or old age. For my grandson and for the young kids around me, it’s like death is normal to them. It’s like getting shot is normal to them,” Yolanda said. “People tend to act like it’s not a problem until it is your problem. I didn’t think I would be speaking out against violence, I didn’t think I was going to be the vice president of Moms in Mourning, I didn’t think my mom was going to be sitting next to me losing her daughter.”

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