Friends of Refugees

A U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program Watchdog Group

Burundian refugee slain at apartment complex in Louisville

Posted by Christopher Coen on August 4, 2011

Another refugee has lost his life at a public housing complex – this time in Louisville. Burundian refugee Karenzo Audace was gunned down while trying to move his family away from a public housing complex because his wife said the suspect was sexually harassing her. The Louisville Courier-Journal has more:

A murder warrant has been issued for a Louisville man accused of shooting a Park Hill immigrant who was moving his family because his wife said the suspect was sexually harassing her.

Jason Majors was arrested Thursday on a disorderly conduct charge after Karenzo Audace’s wife called to complain that Majors had repeatedly made unwanted advances toward her.

He wanted to have a relationship that she did not wish to have,” said Lt. Barry Wilkerson, commander of the Louisville Metro Police homicide unit. Wilkerson said he believes the pair only knew each other because they lived in the same area.

Audace was gunned down Monday as he tried to pack his family up and move them away from their apartment in the Parkway Place public housing complex to avoid further confrontations with Majors, Wilkerson said.

Audace, 36, died of multiple gunshot wounds, said Rita Taylor, a deputy Jefferson County coroner.

He was an African immigrant from Burundi who lived in Louisville with his wife and their two daughters, ages 8 and 5, and a 3-year-old son.

As police searched Tuesday for Majors, Audace’s friends and family remembered him as an outgoing, caring father and husband who was doing all he could to make the best of his new life in America.

He’s just so vibrant and had so much energy,” said Lisa Cox, who taught Audace at Jefferson Community and Technical College. “He’s a good person, and I don’t understand why it had to be him.”

Though Wilkerson said he did not believe that Audace and Majors had exchanged words with each other before the shooting.

After he was arrested on the disorderly conduct charge and fleeing and evading police, Majors was released on his own recognizance, according to court records.

Majors has been arrested on several misdemeanors drug charges, most recently in 2009, plus a fourth-degree assault and disorderly conduct in 2003 and a felony second-degree attempting escape in 2002…

…Cox, who had Audace in two classes while he was going through the developmental English as a Second Language program at the community college, said Audace had a zest for learning. He always had questions in class and brought his homework in on time, she said.

In one of his essays, Cox said he had written about the horrors of his life in Africa, where he’d watched his two parents be slaughtered and then was left to get his younger siblings to safety… Read more here

This is now less than two months after an elderly Liberian refugee was hit my a stray bullet and killed at a public housing complex in Buffalo. A Southern Sudanese refugee I knew named James Kuch Mangui, age 24, was also gun downed and murdered in 2004 at an apartment complex in Louisville. In that case it involved mistaken identity and someone looking to avenge his car being scraped in a parking lot.

I think that resettlement agencies should always steer refugees away from public housing complexes known for extreme violence or murders. It’s not enough to just sign them up for public housing and hope for the best when some of these complexes are well-known as extremely dangerous. I know that resettlement agencies will say that they don’t have enough funding to find alternatives, but how true is that? Yes, we all know that there is an epidemic of violence at some public housing complexes, but the agencies could at least direct refugees to safer private market units that accept section 8. The US refugee resettlement program is not responsible for all victims of violence at these complexes, but they are responsible for the refugees they resettle.

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2 Responses to “Burundian refugee slain at apartment complex in Louisville”

  1. Josh Burkhart said

    I wrote a poem on the day of the funeral for James Mangui. Our church adopted 4 Sudanese boys and one of them was James. Me and my mother lived across from him and from day 1. Me and my mother were kinda like a go between for our church and the apartment they put them in. I helped put up their first Christmas tree amongst other things. I remember the day that James died in the drive by very well. I got home from work and fell asleep sitting up on the couch and the next thing I remember my mom is screaming blood murder and I’m freaking out because I don’t know what heck is going on. She’s screaming I knew it was him, I knew it was him. I went to the visitation at the church and couldn’t even make it into the sanctuary. But on the bus ride there I wrote a poem. I was wanting to know if you would like to see it or talk or whatever but it tore me up inside the day we lost James. May God bless the work that you are doing.

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