Tragedy strikes twice for Ball State student

Jennifer Bredemeyer was just getting settled into her first year of college life, dealing with all the stressors ordinary freshmen deal with -- roommate problems, trying to budget a new time schedule and meeting new friends.

She was having an unforgettable college experience, until tragedy struck and she lost a friend to gun violence.

Everything was going smoothly for Bredemeyer until the morning of Oct. 20.

While she was tailgating outside a Ball State football game with some friends, she overheard a man say a name.

"Pomfred."

Jason Pomfred was the name of a friend Bredemeyer had grown up with. She approached the person and asked how her friend had been. She had not talked to him in a while.

"Oh my God," he said to someone nearby. "She doesn't know yet."

Bredemeyer demanded to know what was going on.

"Jason's dead. He was shot this morning."

"The first thing I thought of," Bredemeyer said later, "was, 'Oh my God, not Justin. Not another one.'"

Pomfred was attending a party in downtown Fort Wayne the night of his death. Local papers reported that he left the party after he saw a friend leave that had been fighting with his girlfriend. Pomfred got into his car to chase after him and eventually caught up. He parked, met up with his friend, and the two began walking down the street. Pomfred was trying to comfort and calm him down. Suddenly, Pomfred was shot in the back from 15 feet away and then approached and shot two more times.

Pomfred did not know the man who killed him. Local papers report what seemed as an argument between the gunman and Pomfred. The argument seemed to be based on a misunderstanding. It was reported that Pomfred seemed as if he wanted to hurt the reported gunman, but was not armed. The gunman called 911 and waited for police to arrive, he is currently in police custody.

Pomfred was just 18-years-old when he died. He attended Concordia Lutheran High School with Bredemeyer. They had been friends since eighth grade. Pomfred played baseball with Bredemeyer's boyfriend so she often attended his games. Those were some of the fondest memories Bredemeyer said she keeps with her.

"Your boy better not be pitching," Pomfred once said to Bredemeyer, teasingly. "I don't want no curve balls."

Bredemeyer said she can not help but smile when she thinks of Pomfred.

"He was just the nicest guy," she said. "If he didn't care, he'd listen anyway. He could always make you smile."

This is not the first time that Bredemeyer has faced the tragedy of losing a friend. Her friend Bill Hill was also killed by a gun.

During Hill's eighth grade year he was playing with his father's gun when the revolver unexpectedly went off, Bredemeyer said. Hill was not only a friend to Bredemeyer, but was Pomfred's best friend.

"When we found out (about Bill), Pomfred just sat there and everyone else cried and hugged each other," Bredemeyer said.

Bredemeyer said she is dealing with her friend's death and is getting through it. She said she simply tries not the think about the hurt and pain and tries to get through the day. She said she deals with Pomfred's death by talking to her boyfriend and surrounding herself with friends.

She said she thinks gun violence cannot be stopped, but that education is the key to preventing it. She does not have a problem with guns in the home as long as the parents take the right precautions -- not just locking them up but educating children what to do if they find the gun.

"With Bill, it makes people realize guns should be put away," Bredemeyer said.


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