I Know One of the Waffle House Shooting Victims & I’m Heartsick
#RIP Taurean Sanderlin.
I am sitting here in the radio studio about to prepare for my show tomorrow. I normally check out the latest news headlines so that I am familiar with what we in radio call "Topic A," which are the most popular stories. I saw that the Nashville police had finally captured the Waffle House Killer, and I looked over the names of the victims. My heart just STOPPED because when I saw the name of Taurean Sanderlin, my tears began to overflow.
You see, there's only one Sanderlin family that I know of in my hometown of Nashville, and sure enough, Taurean is in that one. I had met Wanda in the church I attended and looked up to her like one would a big sister. She had a husband and two little boys, Jeffrey and Taurean. We met in East Nashville, but soon thereafter, she and her family moved to Goodlettsville, Tenn., which is about a 20-minute drive from where I lived. I used to go over to Wanda's house and she would give me her tidbits of wisdom and share food with me. I remember on Sept. 11, 2001, after I had gone home from work for the day, I drove over to Wanda's house and we watched the television together, horrified at the attacks on the World Trade Center towers. Her sons were too young to understand what was happening, but Wanda gave them both an extra big hug that day.
He was only 13 years old when I last saw him before I moved away to Yakima. Taurean Sanderlin was very smart and had great grades in school. He was very active in our church and Taurean loved to play sports. He had impeccable manners, was funny and lanky, just growing up as tall as weeds every day, just like his parents. I think I remember he had braces when I left Music City in 2002.
Taurean's mother, Wanda, is at the heart of this story for me. Wanda is the epitome of grace and Southern Belle charm. Wanda is actually the very person who convinced me to stop listening to all the cranky old people in our church who scolded me and said that if I left home to pursue my radio dreams in Yakima, I would fail. I lost touch with Wanda through the course of time, but I still hold my head up high and believe in myself every single day, and I owe much of that spirit to Taurean's mom, Wanda Sanderlin.
I will always hold the Sanderlin family (Wanda, her husband Charles, and their other son, Jeffrey) in a special place in my heart. Taurean had just gone on a work break and was the first person shot and killed by the murderer, whose name I shall not dignify by mentioning.
Rest in peace, Taurean. I send love and condolences to all the family members of all those slain, including Joe R. Perez, age 20; DeEbony Groves, age 21; and Akilah DeSilva.