Crime Stoppers Crime of the Week: Mother pleads for justice on what would be her son's 25th birthday

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A Milwaukee mother is pleading with the community to come forward on what would have been her son's 25th birthday.

She's been waiting three years for detectives to put his killer in jail, and now that they're close to solving the case, they need your help to bring not just one, but two families justice.

Before this interview, Brian Bell's mother, Naomi Knight, said her son was just another nameless, faceless murder in Milwaukee. But she's speaking out because March 25, 2021, would have been her son's golden 25th birthday. And while she's celebrating alone in a cemetery, his killer runs free.

"We just want somebody to be held responsible, somebody to come forward -- if they know something, tell," said Knight. "There's an emptiness. I'm never going to be the same person that I was before August 12, 2018.

That night, she got the call that her first born son had been gunned down outside of his apartment complex near W. Melvina and N. 76th Street.

The 22-year-old told her he had big plans for his life. 

"He took me to work that Thursday, we had lunch. That was my goodbye and I didn't know it. I work at the number one trauma hospital and I see this all the time. The night my son was murdered, I had just left my 10-hour shift and went home to sit down to rest. So much to be taken from him at the prime of your life. You're 22. You are just beginning to live."

Milwaukee homicide detective Jake Puschnig says they have a person of interest and say they are very close to solving this case.

"Homicide cases are like a piece of a puzzle, we are looking for one more additional piece," Puschnig said. "We also believe that this case is related to an unsolved homicide of 2018, another unsolved homicide of 2018. And we believe that this could possibly have been a robbery gone bad -- both cases. And we believe that if we solve Mr. Bell's homicide, we can possibly solve another additional homicide and bring closure to an additional family."

"We just want justice, someone to come forward, someone to be held responsible," said Knight. "It's too many families like this. The final justice is not here on earth, this I know, but justice on earth brings a little bit of peace that someone is held responsible."

Naomi Knight says solving one or both of these cases would be a win for a community where grief continues to grow.

"There's a community of mothers and fathers that lose their young children to gun violence. And you don't want to be a part of that club."

For people who have the missing piece that would solve her son Brian Bell Jr.'s homicide, but won't come forward out of fear of snitching, she has this to say:

"Wait until it's your turn. There's too many homicides in Milwaukee, there's no such thing as snitching. We have women who have been killed, children who have been killed. What's snitching?"

If you know who killed Brian Bell or have any information about this case, call Milwaukee Crime Stoppers at 414-224-TIPS. You can also use the P3 Tips app. 

Your call is always anonymous and if your tip leads to an arrest, you could get $1,000 cash.

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