TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – The family of a Topeka woman killed by a stray bullet is mourning their loss and hoping for change in the community.
Jerrie Ross was killed by a stray bullet while standing in her front yard as two separate parties started to shoot at each other on Southwest Gage Street, police said.
“We want justice,” said Jerrie’s son, James Ross. “So, if there’s anybody out there that has information, please come forward.”
Jerrie was in her front yard checking on her garden when she was shot, James said. It was a place she loved to be, but never would have expected it to be where she took her last breath.
“She loved corn on the cob, and she would get corn from part of the family,” James said. “She would shuck it all night long and prepare it for all of our family members, and all of our family members would get corn. That’s just the type of person she was.”
Jerrie was the definition of an independent woman. As a lover of cooking, gardening, and learning, she was always fixing anything that was broken; however, the thing most important thing to her was her family.
“She was always like my fun aunt,” said Garret Heath, Jerrie’s nephew. “I always just loved when I got to see aunt Jerrie.”
As her family mourned the loss, they said they hoped it brings awareness to the violent crimes happening in the Topeka community.
“There’s so many instances like this here in town, unfortunately,” Garret said. “I think people need to work together and work for healing and…have the justice system really be rehabilitative and help everybody who is affected by these things on both sides.”
Her family is working to become advocates for reducing crime and fighting to save innocent lives, James said.
However, the family is first spending time grieving their loss and remembering Jerrie for the beautiful mom, aunt, and person she was.
“If there’s anybody in your life that you need to have that conversation with, have it,” said Eric Heath, Jerrie’s brother. “Tell the people around you that you love them, and that you appreciate them. It’s important.”
The family has set up a GoFundMe to assist with paying for the funeral and other expenses.
Police are still searching for the person of interest.
If you have any information on the identity of this person or any information on the shooting, you’re asked to call the Topeka Police Criminal Investigation Bureau at (785) 368-9400. You can call anonymously to Shawnee County Crime Stoppers at (785) 234-0007.