The good die young

Published 10:22 am Tuesday, August 9, 2016

AHOSKIE – Why do the good die so young?

Lakiesha Sutton was doing what any other dedicated employee does when they are asked to work on their scheduled day off. She reported to her position as a store clerk at Murphy Express on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. Unfortunately, it would be her last day on the job.

Just a few hours into her shift, gunfire rang out in the parking lot of that convenience store located on US 13 South, adjacent to the Ahoskie Wal Mart. Sutton’s life ended approximately 16 hours later at a hospital in Norfolk, VA.

“We will gather to remember the life of this remarkable young woman, and also gather to address our growing concerns of gun-related violence,” said Sutton’s pastor, the Rev. C. David Stackhouse of New Ahoskie Baptist Church.

A march and candlelight vigil will be held for murder victim Lakiesha Sutton on Friday, Aug. 12 in Ahoskie. | Facebook Photo

A march and candlelight vigil will be held for murder victim Lakiesha Sutton on Friday, Aug. 12 in Ahoskie. | Facebook Photo

Stackhouse, who also serves as Mayor Pro-Tem on the Ahoskie Town Council, has planned a march and candlelight vigil in memory of Sutton on Friday, Aug. 12. The march will begin at 6:01 p.m. in front of the Ahoskie Police Station on West Main Street. The public is invited to participate as the group will make its way east on Main Street, turn onto Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and proceed from there to New Ahoskie Baptist Church.

“At the church, we invite those attending to bring a candle and we’ll light them in memory of Lakiesha,” Stackhouse said.

As part of the event at the church, Stackhouse has invited Sutton’s parents, Raymond and Wanda Lee, to make remarks.

“This event will also serve as a way for the community to rally around this family,” Stackhouse remarked. “They are hurting right now. They, like so many of us, are still in shock over the loss of a loved one.”

Stackhouse said Wanda Lee is a strong member of New Ahoskie. He added that Lakiesha joined the church approximately one year ago.

“I referenced her as a ‘learning’ member,” Stackhouse said. “She was at a point in her relationship with Jesus Christ where she was beginning to learn and understand the scriptures of the Bible and the lessons we learn in the Bible.”

The local minister is still trying to wrap his head around the fact that this young mother of a three-year-old son was taken so abruptly from those who loved her.

“She worked so hard to provide for herself and her son; she worked two jobs….the one at Murphy’s and she also drove a bus for our school system,” Stackhouse said. “She had aspirations of taking classes out at the community college to make a better life for herself and her son. She was just 23 years old; so full of life and then, in the blink of an eye, she’s gone from our midst.”

Stackhouse said from the information he was given about the early morning hours of last Wednesday, Sutton was just trying to get a bad situation under control.

“A customer came into the store and told her there was a group of men arguing out in the parking lot,” Stackhouse related. “She went out to be a peacemaker, to calm the situation, and was shot.

“Gun control is out of control,” Stackhouse continued. “While we will gather on Friday to comfort this grieving family, we have to address the big issue and that’s how to stop gun violence. We’ve got to take a stand and put a stop to gun violence. Our efforts will not bring Lakiesha back to life, but it might just save the next innocent victim.”

Funeral services for Sutton are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 13 at Hertford County High School.

Meanwhile, the Ahoskie Police are still searching for Sutton’s alleged murderer, Shakur Deandre Stephenson, age 22, of Murfreesboro. He is wanted for one count of first degree murder, and five counts of attempted first degree murder. The latter charge is tied into the fact that two others were shot in the same parking lot, but neither of those victims suffered life-threatening injuries. There were also three other individuals in the parking lot when the shots rang out.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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