Family, NAACP establish Damion Cortez Baker Gun Violence Reduction Initiative

Published: Aug. 3, 2022 at 7:08 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS (KMOV) - It has been one month since An’namarie Baker’s life was turned on its head, and, still, there are no answers as to who killed her son Damion Baker.

“That’s more than frustrating,” she said. “The first point of my day is to make a call to one of the detectives. I’m calling the chief, the major sending text messages.”

Today, she went back to where the 25-year-old former CBC football star was killed. The incident happened on the night of July 3. Damion Baker was shot and killed in a parking lot south of Busch Stadium across the street from Paddy O’s Sports Bar. His mother said he was out enjoying a night with close friends.

“He was just such a bright start. He was dedicated, he was persistent,” said An’namarie.

She is now transferring that dedication her son possessed into a dedication to ending gun violence in the community.

“Every shot, every bullet, we want folks to be held responsible for,” said Adolphus Morris Pruitt II., who is the Branch President of the St. Louis City NAACP.

Today, NAACP leaders and Damion Baker’s loved ones introduced the Damion Cortez Baker Gun Violence Reduction Initiative, which aims to reduce gun violence in the city through several key avenues.

One of which is working with St. Louis Public Schools to develop a Pre-K through 12th grade curriculum that educates students about the risks of handling guns.

“So many of these children are exposed to households and to communities where individuals are walking up and down the street with guns that don’t even rival what our police have, and they don’t know that they are dangerous in some aspects,” said An’namarie.

Another part of the initiative is advocating for the city to increase penalties for people who do not properly lock up their firearms while left in an unattended vehicle.

“The main way people are getting hold to illegal guns in the city is finding guns from breaking [into] cars,” said Pruitt.

Also, the NAACP hopes the city will revisit a board bill that was previously brought up by the board of aldermen that would increase accountability for surface area parking lots to require safety measures like security cameras.

The NAACP is also advocating for the creation of a Police-Prosecutor Partnership Gun Violence Intervention Unit, whereby prosecutors, crime analysts and law enforcement will work together to analyze crime data and help victims of violent crimes more effectively and bring offenders to justice.

“We need to seek discomfort because that’s where growth happens,” said An’namarie.

Damion’s mother also says this means pushing on state leaders to regulate gun use. St. Louis Police addressed the challenge of tackling gun violence because of Missouri’s open carry laws earlier this week following another fatal shooting downtown.