A tragic death on the streets of Durham has connected an unlikely pair – a woman still grieving for her son, and a man using his photography to highlight the lasting impact of such tragedies.

In May 2005, Ray Simms was shot and killed at the age of 30 and the case remains unsolved. His mother, Joslin Simms, remains devastated by the loss.

“His death destroyed me,” Simms said.

But now, Joslin Simms hopes sharing her emotions through the photographs of Justin Cook will contribute to finding Ray’s killer, as well as help others in Durham understand that far-reaching impact of such acts.

Through sobs, she said, “That was my baby and I love him. They didn’t have the right to do this. They didn’t have the right to take him from me like this. They don’t know who and I don’t’ know who. I don’t’ know why. It’s not right, God. It’s not. I want my baby back. Oh God. I want my baby back. I just want my baby back.”

Simms has had journalist Justin Cook to lean on for much of the past decade and calls him “my brother from another mother.”

“When Ray got killed, a couple of reporters called me. I didn’t want to talk to anybody,” Simms said.

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