BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The family of a local father who was shot and killed over the summer wants justice. They’re hoping he doesn’t become another unsolved homicide victim in the city
The last time LaEster Conti saw her son, 27-year-old Corvonte Jones, was in late August at a family barbecue. He left the gathering to take his sisters home, then stopped to see his father on Montana Street.
“I’m trying to figure out how to live life without him. It’s hard. I talk to him almost every day. We see each other almost every day,” Conti told us. “Before he left, he gave me a forehead kiss and he was like ‘ok mamma love’ I’ll be right back. I didn’t know that was going to be my last forehead kiss.”
He was shot and killed while standing on his dad’s front lawn.
Corvonte was a proud father of five and a supportive son. He was by his mother’s side when she battled breast cancer twice.
“That smile is what I’m going to really miss the most. His smile and his laugh. It was an annoying laugh, but he made everybody laugh. It’s one of those laughs that it’s annoying but it made the whole room laugh,” added Conti.
LaEster has been in contact with police, and even though there were people present when her son was shot, no one said anything. But, that is not unusual. Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said says it’s one of the major reasons why gun-related homicides go unsolved for so long.
“Your son is not forgotten, trust me. Your son is not forgotten. Every homicide that occurs in the city of buffalo breaks my heart and I want justice for that family,” Flynn said.
According to the district attorney’s office, in 2020 there were 50 gun-related homicides and only 9 were solved. And as of mid-November this year there were 59 gun-related homicides and only 13 solved.
“There are bits and pieces of information that witnesses can give that can help us out and we can put the pieces together to solve the crime. But we need the pieces of the puzzle, initially. I can’t put the puzzle together without the pieces themselves and without people coming forward and giving me a piece, even if it’s one piece that’s why it’s low,” Flynn told News 4.
When a 3-year-old boy was shot on July Fourth weekend and later died, Flynn says it was hard to get people to speak up.
“40 to 50 people outside, hanging around. And, do you know how many people came forward with information? One.,” said Flynn.
With the silent treatment stalling the solvability of gun-related deaths, Flynn says the solution is eliminating distrust of law enforcement.
“We’re your friends in the sense that we want you to be able to play a basketball game without worrying about getting shot. We want kids to be able to go to MLK Park, Delaware Park, go to the park and play football and play basketball and enjoy themselves without worrying about getting shot and killed,” Flynn said.
Meanwhile, as LaEster looks through photos of her son and her grandchildren, she’s focusing on keeping Corvonte’s memory alive.
“Moving forward, I’m just going to try to live through him. I’m going to try to live as he would live. I’m going to try to be the person he knew I was and the person that he adored,” Conti added.
Like any mother who lost her son to violence — she waits for closure.
“Nobody knows anything. It’s something that I’ll have to accept.”
Still, she said she wants someone to step up and say something.
Angelica Morrison is an award-winning reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.
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