After mother's death, woman seeks to add cameras to ShotSpotters

- The afternoon of May 26 haunts Sa’Lesha Beeks.

“Five months have gone by, and if your heart hasn’t weighed heavy enough that it’s time to come forward, put your heart at ease, give us as a family some closure […] then you are a monster,” said Sa’Lesha Beeks. “It’s obvious he has no remorse.”

Her mother, 58-year-old Birdell Beeks, was driving with her 16-year-old granddaughter in the passenger’s seat. The grandmother stopped for the sign at 21st Avenue and Penn Avenue North when she became the innocent bystander in a drive-by shooting.

“There was someone that was driving southbound on Penn Avenue that was the intended target for this person, and, unfortunately, that bullet hit my mom,” Sa’Lesha Beeks said.

Earlier this month, Sa’Lesha received a letter from President Obama wherin he offers his condolences and reminds her of the series of actions he’s taken to get guns out of the wrong hands and to increase mental health treatment and reporting.

“There are additional leads that are coming in, and those leads are being followed up on,” she said.

Minneapolis Police said that there are still no suspects in the case. So, three weeks ago, Sa’Lesha launched a petition on Change.org in hopes of getting cameras placed on Minneapolis Shot Spotters. She now has almost 300 signatures.

“It would’ve been helpful to have that camera there to get them better leads,” she said. “The only camera they had was on a convenience store about a block away.”

Governor Dayton’s press secretary said that Minnesota’s chief inclusion officer met with Sa’Lesha last week to discuss enhancing Shot Spotter equipment. Minneapolis Police confirmed that right now, none of the devices are equipped with cameras.

“The police can’t do it all,” she said. “They need some extra eyes and ears out there.”

The daughter said that until she finds justice, she will remain active.

“People say it gets better, it gets easier,” she said. “I don’t think it ever does. You just learn to cope with it.”


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