FLINT (WJRT) (10/10/2018) - "Let's not try to make sense out of something that don't make sense because it doesn't make sense. And then, let's not believe there's a better reason for this or anything like that."
Those are the first words Jeffery Hawkins tells any family experiencing a tragedy.
As part of the Michigan State Police CAUTION (Community Action United Team in Our Neighborhood) Program, the Pastor of Prince of Peace Baptist Church in Flint has been one of the first on scene with law enforcement for about 7 years.
"During unfortunate times of crisis, people need somebody that they can talk to, that they can relate to," he explained.
Pastor Hawkins is grateful for his role, but said it's not an easy one. Tuesday night he met with the family of 7-year-old Zaniyah Burns. She was killed after being shot in the head twice.
The young girl was inside her home on Austin Avenue in Flint.
"It makes me extremely angry and it frustrates me because not only is one homicide one too many, but whenever you see someone who do such a cowardly act like this and take a life of a 7-year-old, of course we understand that that child was not the primary target, but yet and still she became the target," Pastor Hawkins said.
He explained the family and the community should be upset right now.
"Let's keep this thing real enough so you can deal with these real hurts," he explained. "Bbecause I believe if you deal with real hurts, you can deal with the real problem and hopefully get some real peace. And then, to be able to even say let's pray that the person responsible be brought to justice."
Having lost two of his sons to gun violence, Pastor Hawkins' dedication is fueled by his desire to not want anybody else to experience his pain.
Crime Stoppers is joining the search for Zaniyah's killer.
They have just added a reward of up to $2,500 for information that will lead to an arrest.
If you have any information call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-422-JAIL. You can remain anonymous.