Eddaejia Keene embraced her family as she deals with the pain of losing a loved one. She says she was in a relationship with Joshua Jalovick, or J-Rock as she knew him — the 27-year-old man who Buffalo Police say died after he was shot behind a house on Freund Street on Buffalo's East Side Monday night around 6 p.m.
Keene and her family placed a teddy bear on the front porch of the home in his memory.
"The last thing we said to one another before he came over here to play dice was 'I love you,' so I have to hang on to that for the rest of my life," Keene said.
One neighbor described the scene as it happened while still daylight in the early evening and first thought someone was lighting fireworks.
"So you heard 'pop-pop-pop-pop' and next thing you know you see police going through and you see one guy cutting through the yards," said Gary, who declined to give his last name.
He calls the neighborhood a "high crime area" and says people in there learn to live with the possibility of violence, but they worry most about the young children on the street who could be caught in the middle of it.
"Some kids have gotten killed or have got hit by stray bullets," Gary said, referencing other deadly incidents in the city. "None of these people have been on a firing range. None of them know how to shoot. So if they get a gun they're shooting sporadically.”
So what can be done to curb the crime in the area? Gary wants to see police getting to better know the people they protect and serve, which has been an emphasis under Buffalo Police Commissioner Byron Lockwood.
"You need more policing to be more interactive in the community," Gary said. "When they're more interactive in the community, more information gets provided to them."
And as Eddaejia Keene struggles with her sadness, her message: it didn't have to happen this way to Joshua, or anyone else.
"You don't need to use guns or knives or anything. If there's an issue between one another I feel like you should get in the streets and fight like a real man, not use a weapon and have to murder someone," she said.