By Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — For most, the sirens, blue lights and shattered glass are disturbing images. But for a growing number of families, they are earth-shattering realities.

Fatemah Green lost her nephew, 17-year-old Andre Conley, last Monday afternoon. Conley and his friend were shot outside of a north Minneapolis convenience store in broad daylight. Conley’s friend survived.

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“At this moment, what I’m feeling like is pain, unrest, hurt,” Green said.

Conley had just started his senior year at Patrick Henry High School, where he was a teen known for his athleticism, and mostly his smile.

“He was a great kid,” Green said. “He was not involved in drugs and gangs and all that. He had a great family, his parents, his mother and father.”

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Now instead of a graduation, the family is planning a funeral. Conley was the city’s 59th homicide victim of the year.

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Family friend Jalilia Abdul-Brown is a case manager who took the call at the hospital that fateful day. She’s taken 300 similar calls this year.

“It was more like knots in my stomach when I got that call,” Abdul-Brown said. “It really touched me different, and that’s when I said OK, we really got to make a different impact until we begin to come up with different initiatives, right, for the youth.”

Conley’s family is focused too on a need for programs that give kids more places to go so they don’t end up hanging around store parking lots.

“We don’t have the funding to fund these type of resources in our communities, and that’s what we need,” Green said.If we had the funding … we could put the funds into these places in the areas where we need, I think that would help.”

She’s asking the mayor council and the governor to consider what’s been lost and who could be saved.

“I think about Andre, and what could have happened,” Green said.

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Conley’s family is planning a memorial. A GoFundMe account has been set up to help his family with expenses.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield