Saturday, April 11, 2009

Terrytown Murders, Toddler Shot in Head (Poem-prayer)

terrytown murders robert claiborneThe poem-prayer that follows this introduction and news excerpts is written in response to a horrific multiple-murder case in Terrytown, a New Orleans metro area suburb. Here are excerpts from stories about the tragedy.
Fortunato said authorities believe two unidentified men entered an apartment in the area and "executed" a 23-month old male toddler and the baby's 19-year old mother. Wielding handguns, the men also shot a 6-year old boy and 11-year old girl who were in the home. The 6-year old died en route to University Hospital, while the 11-year old remains in critical condition. (Writer, Allen Powell II at Times Picayune, April 11)
Per the Picayune story, witnesses said two men in dark clothing kicked in the door and began shooting, and "authorities also located crack cocaine and marijuana in the apartment."

I agree with a woman who identified herself as the toddler's aunt to Powell,
"Whoever did it was lowdown," the woman said. "These children don't know about what's happening. ...They (the shooters) just don't have a soul."
And then the story gets worse, the grief-stricken young mother of the dead 6-year-old is tased by the police.
The mother of Four Overstreet grew irate with authorities when she arrived at the Monterey Court apartment where the rampage happened before 4 a.m., Saturday. When she got physical, deputies stunned her to bring the situation under control, Col. John Fortunato said.

... Four died at the hospital from a gunshot wound to the head.

Robert was also shot in the head. Sterling was shot in the back, and the 11-year-old suffered multiple gunshot wounds to the body, Fortunato said. (more of the story at this link)
WWL TV reports that the frantic mother and her boyfriend were arrested and characterized them as "fighting" with the police.
Rayshika Overstreet, 29, Four's mother, who arrived on the scene later, was subdued with a Taser after she became belligerent with police and struck an officer and struggled with another officer, police said.

She was charged with interfering with the police, resisting arrest by fighting, battery on a police officer, contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile because of the narcotics seized from her apartment and possession of crack cocaine and possession of marijuana, police said. (WWL)
According the newspaper, 19-year-old murder victim Dominique Sterling had been baby sitting the 6-year-old who died and the 11-year-old who survived for Overstreet. However, the child pictured in this post is toddler Robert Claiborne, Sterling's son. Sterling's relatives say that she recently moved to the neighborhood, was doing a favor for Overstreet by babysitting, and that Sterling was not involved with drugs.

urban prayer poetry

Like a Revelations Day
By Nordette Adams

When the lights go down in NOLA in the 3rd, in the 9th, in the 7th,
on streets not known for cultured gardens,
we hunch in corners, curl behind locked doors.

When the lights go up in NOLA, the city's staged with blood.
We stumble into her streets stuttering, hands stretched like blind men, fingers
fumbling at silver crucifixes, searching for the blank wooden cross.

We cry to believe that You came in flesh and escaped death for us all.
O' God, we need you, our fingers creep for the hem of your garment.
Our children fatten undertakers. POW! POW POW POW!

Is this what a last day is? Is this the last days we heard of,
that mothers and fathers would not know their children,
that children would hate brother and sister?

If a mother must go to one more funeral,
      she will go into the grave with that child.
If a grandmother has to bail out one more son,
      she will lock herself in the cell.
If a child has to dodge one more bullet,
      will she clamor to meet her end?

O' Lord, we fall on our knees.
We fall on our knees and seek your face.
We seek your face, we wail at chaos.

Rein in evil, Lord. Counsel our souls to order.

(c) 2009 Nordette Adams

1 comment:

  1. May God bless the surviving child of this tragedy! How cold blood and heartless this crime truly is. It makes me so sad and very angry to read stories like this one. Such evil disturbs my soul.

    Your poem is powerful and moving. It is also filled with truth about many neighborhoods in this nation and internationally.