LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A mother is in mourning after her son died trying to protect his younger brother -- and police say the crime speaks to another problem for Louisville: teens charged with murder.

Lorraine Roper adopted her three grandchildren when they were very young. Wednesday she heard the shots that would end her favorite son's life.

"It's like my mind is a blank because every time, if I really think about it, you know...I can't..." she said, breaking down.

"Andrew, he was my closest son," she added. "He was the one I know who loved me."

Wednesday, she heard the shots that would end her favorite son's life.

"He said, 'I told you get back in the house!' and he yelled at me and he never yells at me," she said. "I went back in the house and stayed and I heard three gunshots."

Police say Andrew Key Roper was shot in the chest and fell dead in the hallway at the Russell Apartments when he tried to break up a robbery. Lorraine lives at the complex off 18th and Broadway and says the robbery victim was actually her youngest son.

"I seen my son, the baby boy with the braids...saying, 'They shot my brother, they killed my brother, they killed my brother," she said.

Maunyeh Haggard and Isaiah Jenkins entered not guilty pleas Friday to murder and robbery. Both men are just 18 years old. It highlights a bigger problem.

Louisville has seen eight murders so far this year, which is unusually high for January.

Police have noticed another trend: young suspects and young victims -- many of whom are still teenagers.

"We have noticed that a lot of people we have arrested are young teenagers, but it's hard to connect it because the murders themselves are not connected," said LMPD Lt. Todd Kessinger of the Homicide Unit. "There is no pattern to the murder."

Police say stronger relationships among community and church groups could curb the rise in violent juvenile crime.

"You cannot ever give me back my son," Roper said.

This is an all too familiar pain for Roper, who lost another child to murder in New York. To the two teens charged with this crime, she has one message.

"I wish they get a 1000 years in jail," she said. "I really do."

Haggard and Jenkins remain behind bars at Louisville Metro Corrections on a $500,000 bond.

Prosecutors want no bail, so the suspects can't get out. There will be a hearing on that motion Monday morning.

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