A pregnant mother and wife, who immigrated to the U.S. from the Democratic Republic of the Congo to escape the violence and war in her native country, was fatally shot in front of her family in Louisville in the wee hours of Sunday.
According to the Louisville Courier-Journal, 39-year-old Nyota Bawili was watching television with her husband when she was fatally struck in the head by a bullet that entered their home. The deceased mother was expecting her eighth child, and she was just about six months pregnant.
Bawili reportedly relocated to Louisville from Florida about six months ago for better job opportunities. “To see my wife dead in front of me and in front of our 13-month-old child — that is the most devastating thing I’ve experienced in life,” Bawili’s husband, Patrick Pili Pili said through interpreter and family friend, Rolend Butsitsi.
Bawili had been in the United States for six years at the time of her killing. Butsitsi told WDRB they never foresaw such a tragedy befalling them – particularly when they fled the violence in their native Central African country for a better life in the United States.
“We are very saddened and very in pain,” Butsitsi said. “We came from a country where there are guns and violence like war. And for some reason, we thought that the grass was greener on the other side. And for some reason, we’ve come and we succumb to the same thing that we as a community, as a people, endured in the Congo.”
Bawili’s unborn child did not also make it. Besides her husband, the couple’s four children were also in the home at the time of the shooting. The family also told the Louisville Courier Journal they did not have any problems with anyone, and they could not understand why she was killed.
“Whoever did this, wherever they are, it really left me with a big scar and a big task,” Pili Pili said. “He or she took my best friend away and as a widow of seven kids, with the last being a 13-month-old, I don’t know where to start or to finish.
“Why did you do this?”
Bawili is reportedly the third pregnant woman to be fatally shot in Louisville over the last six weeks. The level of violence in the city over the last two years has also spiraled, and the beginning of 2022 has been nothing to write home about. At least one fatal wound was recorded daily during the first nine days of the year.
Bawili’s killing is currently being investigated by the Louisville Metro Police. The deceased mother’s family also said they don’t think she was the intended target, WDRB reported.
“Knowing that they have no issue with anybody in the city, there’s more questions to be asked than answers to be given,” Butsitsi said.