YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – In this segment of our In-Depth interview, WKBN’s Community Affairs Director Dee Crawford talks with the grandfather of a murder victim and the strain violence puts on a family.
Wayne Thigpen’s granddaughter Armani WainWright was shot and killed in Youngstown last year. The violence and loss are something Thigpen’s family deals with daily. A suspect has not been named and the case is still under investigation.
“Financially, it’s put a strain on all of us but mentally and physically it’s our blood pressure. You know, by not having closure. My daughter’s blood pressure – she’s stressed out. I’m stressed out,” he said.
Armani’s mom has custody of her three children.
“And she does an excellent job,” Thigpen said.
Another daughter from Akron has moved back to Youngstown to help out. Two of the children are in school and there is a 2-year-old child who was just 1 year old when Armani was killed.
“He’s not in daycare. I keep him home with me all day,” Thigpen said.
He finds the energy to keep with the child “from the good Lord.”
“I ask God for strength and he gives it to me. I feel that’s why Jesus keeps me on this earth for,” he said. It’s a blessing to be with my great-grandkids.”
When questions come about the children’s mother and what happened to her, Thigpen pauses.
“I really couldn’t answer the question with her son Ezekiel because he would ask me, ‘When is Armani coming home?’ And I really don’t know how to tell him,” he said. “He knows she’s gone.”
And the fact that Armani was murdered is a hard subject to explain.
“I think he knows because he’s overheard people say that she was murdered. I just don’t talk to him about it,” Thigpen said.
Thigpen admits it’s him that’s really not ready for that conversation.
Coping with the stress of it all is a challenge every day. Thigpen says it’s could be time to get some help.
“I guess I will. I was suggested to seek counseling and that’s what I’m going to do,” he said.