Memphis mother 1 year without answers on her son’s death

Published: May. 6, 2022 at 9:15 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A Memphis mother who lost her teenage son just over a year ago is taking strides to protect families from that same fate.

Standing before the media Friday afternoon, Michelle Collins recalled the night of May 2 last year.

Her 15-year-old son Ja’Kobe was caught in the middle of a drive-by shooting off Masterson Street, dying at the scene.

“...and I’m still at work, waiting on him, calling his phone,” Collins said. “I was trying to see... was he out there waiting on me?”

What’s unique to Collins’s situation is she works for Memphis’s E9-1-1 Center at 201 Poplar.

“I take hundreds of calls daily, shootings... all types of calls, daily, and I never imagined I would be on the other end,” the mother said.

All she knows is her son wasn’t the intended target, caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Collins says she’s not found peace yet because the people responsible for her son’s death are still at large, and at last check with MPD there have been no new developments.

She serves as an example of someone in law enforcement who lives in the community and, unfortunately in her case, suffers in the community like so many other families have over the last year, but she holds out hope that Memphis Police will give her family justice.

“I have grown to have patience because I know how many other... They’re short staffed, and there’s so much going on in the city that they don’t have the manpower to handle it,” Collins said.

“(MPD is) investigating every case that comes,” said Stevie Moore, Founder/President of Freedom From Unnecessary Negatives (F.F.U.N.). “They’re not just forgetting what happened. Law enforcement are being unfairly treated a lot of times because we keep saying they’re not dong nothing.”

Collins has since started an organization in honor of her son, Kids Obtaining Better Everyday, or K.O.B.E., providing resources to Memphis families in hopes of preventing what happened to her.

“We need more good examples, mentors, who can get to a child, reach a child, teach a child, get them to understand that violence is not the way,” she said.

Collins and her group KOBE are partnering with FFUN for an event on Saturday, May 6 from 10a.m. to 2p.m. at David Carnes Park.

She’s encouraging Memphis families to come out and learn more about her group and how they can help fight violent crime from within their communities.

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