Plea to stop the violence: Family, friends remember Dricka Hodges

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- A little more than a month ago, a 29-year-old mother was killed -- she was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. On Friday, May 16th, a community stood together to say the violence has to stop.

There are some forms of agony so deep, so despairing, that words simply fail you.

"I never in a million years thought that I would be a mother with my daughter on a t-shirt," said Lurlean Hodges, mother of victim.

Fredricka Hodges was at 24th and Center on April 7th, when someone fired a gun at a group of people on the street corner. Instead, it was Hodges who took the bullet. She paid for it with her life.

"You didn't even give us the chance to say goodbye," said Hodges.

On Friday, Hodges' family and community leaders planted a tree to commemorate her death. A pastor of a nearby church says this is just the first step his church plans to take to help stop the violence.

"We have to get out in the neighborhood. We have to know the people, and the people have to get to know us," said Pastor Michael Harden of New Testament Central City Church. "So that's what we're going to try to do. And I'm sure that the Lord will give us some other things as we move along. But you take step one and then He gives you step two."

Harden says the incident happened right outside of his church, and its a wake up call for the church.

"She was a young lady she lived four houses from our church and it just was God saying it's time and so this is only the beginning," said Harden.

Pastor Harden says they've already reached out to the police department to talk about other ways they can make a difference in the fight against crime in the community.

For now though, it's enough to simply give root to the memory of Fredricka and the other victims of violence.

"This tree represents who my daughter is, it's red like the color of her heart and this tree will live on, I know that," said Hodges.

Fredricka left behind two young children. Her mother says she forgives the person who killed her, but asks for that person to turn themselves in.

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