Annette January and Daja Brookshire both competed in the hurdles at a track meet last year. January came in first by a hair, but both walked away victorious after leaving a great impression on everyone in attendance.

Unfortunately, both of these young ladies have fallen victim to gun violence in unrelated incidents, providing another glance into how far this crisis can reach. 

According to The Chicago Tribune, 19-year-old January and a friend, Lashuntae Benton, died on April 10 after being caught in the crossfire of two men outside of am apartment complex in Baton Rouge, LA. She was enrolled at Southern University on a track scholarship and studied management.

Brookshire, 15, was shot back in August as she was getting out of her boyfriend’s car. She was getting ready to start her sophomore year at West Side Leadership Academy in Gary, IN. She later died at a local hospital after hospital staff worked for 2 hours to save her.

“It’s unbelievable to me,” said West Side track coach Veronica Williams. “They were both hurdlers, and they both ran the second leg of the 4×4 relay. Both with futures ahead of them of being great champions and both caught in crossfire. It’s shocking and devastating.”

Both of these young ladies has bright futures ahead of them, either in track and field or outside of it, but were robbed of those opportunities because of senseless violence. Whether it be in Gary, IN, Baton Rouge, LA or anywhere else, these tragedies are heartbreaking all the same.

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