GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Kent County Commissioner Robert S. Womack is mourning the loss of his cousin, who was shot and killed Saturday in Grand Rapids.
Womack identified the victim as 19-year-old JaShon Large.
“Jay was a brilliant student, a brilliant athlete and there’s just so many accomplishments that he had as a young man that even his murder won’t overshadow what a great person he was,” Womack told News 8.
The Grand Rapids Police Department said Large was driving on the city’s southwest side when the suspect’s vehicle pulled up alongside him and fired several shots inside.
Large died at the hospital. According to police, he had a gun on him at the time of the shooting.
“All I can say is that he was shot at before and that might be the reason that he felt he might need protection,” Womack said. “A lot of young men feel that their lives are at risk, so I really don’t want anyone to judge him.”
Last Fall, Womack lost another family member to gun violence. His cousin, 20-year-old Kendall Frost, was also shot and killed in Grand Rapids.
“The pain I go through is one thing, but whenever I talk to the parents, as I talk with Jayson’s father this morning and understanding that his father Jay and his mother, they’re just devastated,” Womack said.
Womack, who has long fought against gun violence, is once again calling on the community to do their part in changing the culture.
“Change the ecosystem that’s out here that has young men feeling that they don’t have any reason to live for,” Womack said. “They believe their life’s not worth anything, so it’s easier for them to take a life and take the gamble and risk of going to prison.”
No suspect information has been released at this time.
Anyone with information is asked to call GRPD at 616.456.3400 or Silent Observer at 616.774.2345.
*Editor’s Note: Womack initially provided a different spelling for Large’s first name. He later clarified that it should be spelled JaShon.