Mother deals with loss of 16-year-old son in Evanston

CINCINNATI - Vanessa Pugh arrived home on Monday evening to face a parent's greatest fear.

"I saw a lot of the police cars on the corner," Pugh said in her Evanston home Tuesday. "Someone told me that was my son on the ground dead.

Because they weren't positively sure at that point, so I was afraid. Hoping against hope that it wasn't him? Absolutely. And waiting, and waiting, and waiting to find out. And, it was him."

The Hamilton County Coroner's Office confirmed the identity of Pugh's son, Terrence Womack, 16, Tuesday morning. Womack was shot multiple times around 7 p.m. near the intersections of Woodburn and Gilbert avenues, according to police officials.

The teenager reportedly had just left the nearby Evanston Recreation Center, located at 3204 Woodburn Ave., when he was shot.

On Tuesday afternoon police said the suspect, or suspects remained at large and no descriptions were available.

Adding to the tragic loss of her son, Pugh said he was turning his life around after getting into some trouble with the law. The teenager was on home incarceration.

"I don't really want to dwell on the negative," Pugh said. "He was changing. He was improving and he was trying to be focused and that's what I want to focus on."

Pugh said her son was doing well at Dohn Community School, and community and school officials called her on Tuesday to express their sympathy.

Pastor Peterson Mingo of the Christ Temple Full Gospel Church was one of those people who saw Terrance was changing. Mingo knew Womack through the Evanston Bulldogs football team.

"Terrence was on the upswing," Mingo said. "He was optimistic about everything. Most of the young guys that I know, everybody had something nice to say."

Mingo said a lot of Womack's growth was due to mentoring and connections in the community.

"We can preach. We can teach. We can educate," Mingo said. "Most of all, we just pray. We need to live by example to show them (teenagers) working examples of people who basically been through what they've been through."

The day after Womack's death, Anzora Adkins with the Evanston Community Council called Evanston's loss a wake up call to the community when it comes to dealing with youth and violence.

"We can get a youth committee together and talk with them," Adkins said. "We need to set up a program and a plan. What can we do to help our young people to achieve and make decisions that will help them gain life skills to help them think about what is missing in their life?"

And though Vanessa Pugh's agrees she hopes action is taken so her loss is not repeated in other families, her focus will be on her loss for a while.

"I want it to stop as well, but right now my focus is on my grieving because it just happened," she said. "And that's as far as I've gotten. I'm still trying to wrap my brain around that my son won't come home today."

Police ask anyone with information on this shooting to call Crime Stoppers at (513) 352-3040.

Stay with 9 On Your Side and for updates.

Reporter Amy Wadas contributed to this report.

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