Crime runs in families: Liquarry Jefferson, shot to death at the age of eight by his seven-year-old cousin, was born into a violent world, reports the Boston Globe. His father, who beat his mother when she was pregnant, is in prison; so are the fathers of Liquarry’s four half-siblings. The women in the family have been victims of violence and perpetrators.
Crime in many neighborhoods runs in families, where elders bequeath gang membership, drug abuse, joblessness, and brutality to their offspring like a toxic inheritance. In Grove Hall, police have said that 2.4 percent of the area’s 19,000 residents cause most of the serious crime. Many of those people, police say, are related.
As a result of a special program to fight multi-generational crime, more than $314,000 was spent on Liquarry’s family last year: About half went for prosecution and incarceration, the rest for welfare and social services.
The family was singled out for help after Liquarry’s older half-brother, Jayquan, then 12 years old, was wounded in a drive-by shooting. The Globe reports:
(Mother Lateisha) Gadson, a high school dropout who rarely held a job, would need a lot of help to become a good parent. Only a month before Jayquan was shot, Gadson and her sister had come upon Jayquan and another boy beating a woman who had tried to defend her developmentally disabled son against their taunts. Instead of stopping the fight, the women joined in, according to police. The charges were later dropped when the victim refused to testify.
Jayquan, now 15, started doing well in a new school, said he wants to get a paying job instead of pursuing a leadership role in his gang and took charge of getting Mom’s welfare checks deposited and used to pay bills. Social workers still consider him a success story, although they suspect he owned the gun that killed his brother.
Jayquan is now locked up while the gun issue is investigated. Gadson, who caused a $10,000 police investigation when she falsely claimed armed intruders killed Liquarry, has retained custody of her younger children.