MILWAUKEE -- A young mother is killed -- caught in the crossfire -- on Milwaukee's north side. The tragedy is shaking loved ones and community members to the core.
Jasmine Banks was driving home with her sister and their two young children in the back seat when gunfire erupted. An innocent 23-year-old woman had her life cut short. Now, a 5-month-old son has to grow up without his mom -- and Banks' loved ones cannot bear the emotional pain that is occurring because of this.
Surveillance video captured one of the suspects who opened fire during a gun battle across N. 5th Street on Thursday night, Sept. 19. Just as bullets were flying, Jasmine Banks was driving a white car; passing through the intersection. Her twin sister Tyra Banks was in the passenger seat. Banks was struck in the head by a stray bullet.
Fatal shooting at 5th and Center, Milwaukee
"Someone was fighting. I looked over and her head drop," said Tyra Banks. "I can't get the picture out of my head and I was holding her."
Together, during their first breaths of life, and sadly Jasmine's last, Tyra is broken -- grieving immensely.
"Our bond was inseparable," Tyra Banks said.
So was the one between mother and daughter. Ronica Banks is hurting.
"Numb, heartbroken. A piece of me is gone," Ronica Banks said. "She didn't do anything to anyone."
Gripping each other to find strength, the women sob, not only for their loss, but the void that is left for Banks' 5-month-old son. He and Tyra's 6-year-old daughters were in the backseat of the car when the gunfire rang out. Both are physically OK. But this crime is leaving emotional scars on many.
"It's like, what is it going to take for people to see they are tearing people apart?" asked Wanona Thomas, Banks' sister. "We are all supposed to be brothers and sisters, especially in the black community. We are doing more damage to ourselves than anybody else. 22 innocent bystanders -- look how many people die within a month here."
Jasmine's life is being remembered at a vigil near 5th and Center at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 20. Funeral arrangements are still being made.
Meanwhile, if you would like to contribute to help out the infant son Banks left behind, you can consider a donation to this GoFundMe page.