SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - As mothers, Wendy Benjamin, Latasha Kavanaugh and Tammy Davis live with a reality most parents fear to imagine.
All three recently buried young sons. Victims to the growing problem of homicide in Shreveport.
“It’s some shoes, as a mother, you should never want to walk in,” Benjamin said.
“It hurts. It’s only been nine months since we lost Jordan,” Kavanaugh said. "And you can see I can’t help but to cry whenever I talk about him or think about him.”
While the circumstances surrounding the deaths of their sons - Jordan Davis in December 2017, Quincy Randall in October 2016 and Leatrik Benjamin in May 2016 - differ greatly, two threads connect the mothers' heartache.
For one thing, no one’s been arrested for killing their sons.
And since Day One, the mothers say they’ve felt all but ignored by the Shreveport Police Department.
“They never called me to this day and told me my son is dead,” Benjamin said. “I never received a call saying my son was killed. I found out through a friend."
Kavanaugh’s story is similar.
“We found out from a call, someone woke me up and told me to go to the hospital because Jordan had been shot,” she said. “And by the time I got there, my baby had already passed. He had been gone for hours because the policeman never bothered to contact me.”
Sitting down with KSLA Investigates to talk about their sons’ deaths and their experiences with police, all three women shared a version of the same story, saying it’s almost impossible to get any kind of update from the detectives working their sons’ cases.
“The detectives don’t even much help to solve the crime. They can’t tell me that they’re working on it,” Davis said, referring to the detective assigned her son’s homicide.. “You ain’t working on it, you don’t give us a call. He didn’t call me or my husband. Show us some concern."
Benjamin added: “If they do no more than call us back and say this is where we’re at with your son’s case. This is what’s going on, we don’t have a suspect right now. Just call us back, return our call."
During their emotional 45-minute conversation with KSLA Investigates, the mothers said they are not upset with the police officers working the streets of Shreveport.
Instead, they said, their growing frustration lies with the people working at department headquarters.
“It starts at the top, the police chief. And it comes all the way down," Kavanaugh said. "He’s the chief, and what exactly is he instilling in the people that follow under him?”
Davis said of Police Chief Henry Crump: “The way I see it, he don’t have to hear my concern. He can see how many (homicides have occurred). He can see the paperwork come through. Ain’t nothing being solved, nothing. He needs to do what he needs to do to try and get some of them solved.”
With 47 homicides in 2016 and 50 in 2017, Shreveport is on pace to witness 49 homicides in 2018 if the current rate holds.
That marks a 71 percent increase in the city’s homicide rate when compared to 2013, 2014 and 2015, according to Police Department reports.
All three mothers said they do not believe Crump or other city leaders who claim violent crime is falling in Shreveport.
“It’s not,” Davis said. "Pop the TV on; you hear it on the TV. You hear it on the street. Crime ain’t down.”
“I don’t believe it,” Benjamin added. "I don’t.”
“l definitely don’t believe it,” said Kavanaugh.
While some of their harshest words are reserved for what these women call a lack of leadership inside the Police Department, they say people living in neighborhoods witnessing the deadly wave of violence also carry part of the blame.
'If you know something, tell. We just can’t blame the Shreveport Police Department and the detectives," Benjamin said.
“Everybody, we all need to help. One day it might be your son, your brother, your cousin.”
“Tell it, what you see in the neighborhood,” Davis added. "Because you live in that neighborhood. Don’t just sit up and live day to day and telling other people ‘Oh, I saw her son got shot down’ but you not telling it.”
Kavanaugh urged cooperation.
“We have to work together, from the Police department to the DA’s office, to the people in the neighborhoods, to the people that witnessed.
"Do your part, help.”