Earlier this week, half-sisters, Tarekka Jones, 26, and Jalisa Walls-Harris, 22, were both shot and killed in Cheverly, Maryland, by Jones’ ex, Kevin Tyrice Reynolds, Fox 5 DC reported. Reynolds was later found dead in his Virginia home due to a self-inflicted gunshot, police confirmed.
Court documents show that Reynolds had history of abusing Jones.
Last month after dropping their daughter off at her apartment, Reynolds threw Jones to the ground, dragged her around the parking lot and later came back with a gun. He was arrested in early March for that incident, but was recently released when Jones “posted bond for Reynolds after it was reduced by a judge,” Fox notes.
A week later, she and her sister were dead.
According to neighbors, one of Jones’ three children, a 5-year-old girl, witnessed the murders and knew the gunman by name, which helped the police realize that Reynolds was the shooter.
A relative of the victims, who didn’t want to use her name told the NBC that her family was distraught over the deaths. “It’s sad. It’s really sad. That you would just take an innocent life. People don’t value life anymore.”
Walls-Harris wanted to pursue a career as a vocalist, while Jones was studying to become a dental hygenist, NBC wrote.
Family members told NBC that Jones had broken up with Reynolds and he was “having a hard time moving on.” While they knew he was abusive towards Jones, they never thought “her life and Jalisa’s would end the way it did.”
For some, it may be hard for some to understand why Jones bailed her ex out of jail, but it’s important that she isn’t blamed for her or her sister’s death–that’s strictly on Reynolds. Protecting an abuser or not wanting to cooperate with police is not uncommon among victims and can happen for a range of reasons including fear, shame, economic reasons, hope that the abuse will stop, not wanting to put another Black man in jail, etc. And when you add in children, co-parenting and the need for child support, leaving and/or not having to see your abuser becomes harder and more complicated.
Remember, walking away is a process and in Jones’ case, it can be a deadly one.
It’s also important to point out that intimate partner violence, also called domestic abuse, is not new or rare to Black women. We are almost three times more likely to experience death as a result of this violence compared to white women. And while Black women only make up 8 percent of the U.S. population, we account for 22 percent of these homicides and 29 percent of all victimized women in the U.S, “making it one of the leading causes of death for Black women ages 15 to 35,” Time wrote. And yet, despite this racial disparity, we are less likely to report or seek help.
If you or someone you know needs help, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233.