NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A mourning son is fighting for change after his mother was shot and killed outside of her East Nashville home on her birthday.
The “innocent bystander” was caught in the crossfire during a drive-by shooting, according to the Metro Nashville Police Department.
“I just want justice for my momma,” her oldest son, Roger Hayes, said.
Just before 1 a.m. on Saturday, May 13, Letha Hayes was outside her home in the 600 block of South 7th Street, celebrating her 53rd birthday with friends, when Roger said the unimaginable happened.
“She was sitting on the porch just having fun, taking a little drink and kicking it with everybody when some guys came by shooting, and she ended up getting hit,” Roger said.
Roger told News 2 he left his mom’s house just 30 minutes before Letha was hit.
“I’m heartbroken right now. It’s terrible. It’s terrible. I keep losing all my family to this,” Roger said.
Gun violence in the Cayce community where Letha had lived since 1983 has now taken multiple members of the Hayes family.
“My younger brother died in 2010. Same circumstances,” Roger said.
His brother, Dorell Hayes, who was 21 at the time, was shot and killed a street away from where his mom died.
“What happened to my brother, she expected it to change. I know she didn’t want this stuff to be going on anymore,” Roger said.
Roger’s cousin was also killed in the same neighborhood two years ago.
“It’s getting ridiculous because everybody I love keep getting taken away from me. I hope that what happened to my momma will get people to understand that life is too short and we need to quit doing all of this. You never know when somebody you love is going to be taken from you,” Roger said.
Letha was a mother, a grandmother, and a friend many referred to as “the momma of the block” in her neighborhood.
“She was the light. She was the light; even during her sad times, she always made me smile,” Roger said.
While her family and friends push for change in the community, Roger said his mom will always be remembered as a shining light.
“Just smiles. Just smiles. That’s all I can see is her smile,” Roger said.
Hayes’ family has also created a GoFundMe to help with funeral services. If you’d like to donate, click here.
Investigators said they are pursuing leads in the case. They are asking anyone with information to contact Crime Stoppers at 615-742-7463. Callers to Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous and qualify for a cash reward of up to $5,000 in murder cases.