We the people

A periodic photo column exploring our constitutional rights in everyday action

Published May 20, 2007

Second Amendment: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

Family and friends fill McRae Funeral Home in St. Petersburg beyond capacity. When there is no more room inside the chapel, people stand outside the doors in the fading, evening light.

Tracey Walker grew up in Jordan Park. She attended Dixie Hollins High School. As an adult, she rented a modest house in the Harbordale neighborhood.

Inside the chapel, the minister prays for the family. He speaks of an understanding God. He says the violence must end.

Walker was a 40-year-old single mother of four, who had a beautiful smile that lit up a room. She loved to cook for family, for friends.

Outside the chapel, people surround a young woman. They try to console her, but she cries out loudly. Tears stream down her face.

On a Wednesday night in April someone shot at Walker's son with a handgun, but missed. Stray bullets flew into her home. One struck her dead. She was the second bystander in two weeks killed during a gun-related crime in the neighborhood.

Lori Walker, 18, sits in the parking lot, eyes cast downward, mourning her mother's death. Her cousin, Jazmine Graham, 11, offers comfort with a hug.

Chris Zuppa can be reached at czuppa@sptimes.com