Since July 24, six people — four in the past 30 days alone — and a dog have been killed and four others wounded by gun violence in Franklin County. To put that number in perspective, in 2018 there were three homicides for the whole year.
The rash of recent violence began when in a 48-hour period at the beginning of September, Anthony Hendrix Jr., of Cincinnati, was murdered at a Labor Day get-together in East Frankfort Park. The next day Frankfort resident Coty Brumback and his dog, Baloo, were shot and killed in a St. Clair Street parking garage.
While details are still sketchy about the latest homicides, Xavier Cochrum, of Frankfort, was shot after a reported burglary in Indian Hills late Monday night. Less than eight hours later, Ronald D. Thornton, also of Frankfort, was found dead from multiple gunshot wounds in his Pea Ridge Road home.
According to Safewise’s latest rankings of safest cities in Kentucky, Frankfort — with a population of close to 28,000 — barely cracked the top 100, placing 83rd, one place behind Lexington, which has a population of more than 322,000.
In fact, Frankfort has a higher number of violent crimes per 1,000 people (3.57) than Lexington (3.51). It is disturbing to know we have a higher crime rate than a city 11½ times our size. While the national average is 4.49, Frankfort’s rate is higher than 82.6% of all U.S. cities.
On paper it may be all numbers, statistics and percentages, but these were people with loved ones. Like you and I, they were going about their lives when they were unexpectedly cut short due to meaningless gun violence.
These senseless acts have forever affected not just the victims’ families and friends but the entire community. We are all left shaking our heads and wondering what has happened of late to our quiet, idyllic capital city?
Now is not the time to become numb to the brutality. While saying prayers, keeping the victims in our thoughts and lighting candles in their memory may help us work through our grief, we also need to wake up, stand up and speak out against these tragedies, which have become too frequent.
Frankfort is a resilient community. It is something we have repeatedly proven in times of floods and other disasters. Together, we are stronger and now is the time that we must band together, unite and put an end to gun violence.