I really feel for the mothers whose children are innocent victims of gun violence.

If a mother has one job, it’s to keep her baby safe. When that doesn’t happen and her child becomes another tragic statistic, I can only imagine the self-recrimination, the blame, and the guilt that a woman experiences.

Ikeah Owens, the mother of a 4-year-old shot Saturday night, is going through that right now. At a time when she really should be focused on her son’s healing and his discharge from Einstein Medical Center, she has been reliving the circumstances that led to his shooting.

No Gun Zone, a popular antiviolence Instagram site, connected me with her because she wanted to share what happened leading up to the incident where little Kodey Owens-Neal was injured on March 7.

The incident happened Saturday night at Owens’ home in the 5500 block of North Fourth Street in Olney. Owens’ five children and two of their cousins had been preparing to hop into a rideshare and go to dinner at IHOP when family friend Jerrod Miner stopped by to talk.

Jerrod Miner, 23, of West Oak Lane, was arrested on March 7, 2020, and charged with shooting a 4-year-old boy in the hip on the 5500 block of N. 4th Street, according to police. The boy was in stable condition.
Philadelphia Police
Jerrod Miner, 23, of West Oak Lane, was arrested on March 7, 2020, and charged with shooting a 4-year-old boy in the hip on the 5500 block of N. 4th Street, according to police. The boy was in stable condition.

Miner, 23, of West Oak Lane, allegedly had been play-fighting with Owens’ 17-year-old daughter. The two were having fun and tussling when as a joke, he reportedly pulled out his gun.

“I said, why would you pull a gun out while you’re playing?” recalled Owens, 33. “Not even a minute after I said it, the gun went off.”

“When I looked, he had his hand on the trigger," she said. “I thought maybe the bullet hit the wall. So, as I proceeded to turn around, I noticed Kodey was knelt down on one knee. I go to lift him and see he’s hit. So, I immediately start screaming.”

Miner "was saying, ‘It was an accident.’ I’m saying, ‘Why would you pull a gun out in my house?’” Owens said. “Prior to this, Jerrod had been told not to bring that gun back around me.”

The 17-year-old grabbed a towel and applied pressure to Kodey’s wound. The children in the house were screaming. Owens said she tried to prevent Miner from getting in his car and leaving the scene but was unsuccessful.

By the time the police arrived, Miner was gone. They took her son to Einstein, where doctors rushed him into surgery. The bullet chipped his hip bone and perforated his intestines in three places. Kodey is on the mend. He had been on a liquid diet but went back on regular food on Thursday.

Miner has since turned himself in and faces charges of aggravated assault and related crimes. He’ll have his day in court.

I’ve said it before and I’ll repeat it: There are way too many guns on the streets of Philly. And too many of them are in the hands of owners who haven’t been properly trained in gun safety.

Meanwhile, Owens is doing the hard work of getting her son and her family’s life back to normal, which won’t be easy considering the trauma they’ve just endured. Even if what transpired was an accident, it shouldn’t have happened.

After all, as Owens points out, “My 4-year-old could have been killed.”

As furious as she is at Miner, she’s also mad at herself for allowing him into her family’s life. She met Miner in September 2019 at a Dunkin’ Donuts and knew him for a couple of months before he met her children, ages 4 to 17.

“I’m beating myself up because I trusted this man. My kids trusted him,” Owens added. “My boys went with him to watch him spar because he was a boxer. He’s taken my kids to a birthday party.… He was somebody that I trusted.”

That wasn’t enough to protect little Kodey from being shot.

And sadly, the guilt that comes with it is something that his mother will just have to live with.