Ka (Joe)

My brother Joe was a car enthusiast. He was a natural-born leader. He was goal-oriented and resilient—a friend and confidant to many.

Joe broke a lot of barriers before he was killed at age 22. He became a young father at age 17. He was a young but loving father to his daughter, Kayleen, and hardworking husband to his wife, Gina, also 22. His daughter was his world, his motivation. Everything he did was for his little family.

On May 13, 2018, the night of Mother’s Day, he was shot dead in the living room of Gina’s parents home. They were simply celebrating his mother-in-law and all the other moms of the family, including Gina.

In a split second, our whole world shattered. Not only did we lose a brother, son and friend, we also lost his wife, Gina, and daughter Kayleen, who was only five years old. A whole family, gone.

Our pain exists to remind us of all the love they can no longer receive. They are truly missed.

Ka (Kayleen)

Kayleen, my niece, was the energy in the room—wise and intelligent beyond her tender age of five. Anyone who spent one minute with her immediately loved her because of her electric energy and quirky comments! Kayleen has sass, and she owned it.

She loved her animals, specifically dogs and horses; she believed they were her “bestest” friends. She was eager and well-prepared to start kindergarten in the fall.

However, on May 13, 2018, as she was celebrating Mother’s Day with her mom, Gina (22), and dad, Joe (22), in her grandma’s living room, a gunman decided to shoot into the living room full of her loved ones, killing her dad, her mom and herself.

We will never know what she could’ve grown up to be, or how her energy and spunk could have healed to this world. We were stripped of that privilege that night, and all we are left with is pain.

They are deeply missed, always.

Ka (Gina)

Gina, my sister-in-law, was such an attentive and loving mother. Her whole world was centered around her daughter, Kayleen. Gina was also very bright, hard-working and bubbly. She had a very strong work ethic.

When she became pregnant at age 15, she didn’t fear what that would mean for her future as a young mom. She was brave and eager to take on the role of providing for and supporting her daughter, so Kayleen would have the best life possible. Together with her husband, Joe, they gave everything they could to their little girl.

But on May 13, 2018, the night of Mother’s Day, as 22-year-old Gina was celebrating her mom, sisters and herself, a gunman shot into their living room. He killed her husband, Joe (22), her daughter, Kayleen (5), and herself.

In an instant, our world shattered. We can no longer give them all the love that they left behind. They are truly missed.

Arness

A survivor of domestic violence and someone who was threatened to be killed with a gun, my mother was shot by my father. She survived the attack because as the gun was pointed to her head, she knocked it away and was shot in her leg. My first cousin was also shot and killed by her husband, who then shot himself in 1999. My organization A-Way-Out Ministries, Inc. helps to end domestic violence.

My cousin was killed by a gun

I was a teenager. I grew up on gun violence. Where I was walking one day—because I was a tomboy I did not know what a drive-by was—they were shooting, so I ran for my life. My mother used to tell me to get on the floor. Also my daughter almost was killed because they were shooting left and right. The projects, Poker Beans Project, which is Liberty Square Apartment.

Also my mother’s ex-boyfriend threatened to kill me, also he put a gun in my hand and made me shoot up in the sky. He was very dangerous to me and my mom. He also put a gun in my mother’s face as well. Also my cousin got shot by a gun. He was found dead in his mother’s home back in 2016.

Donna

My son Randy was shot and killed in 2017.

I remember the day I was first introduced to my son. God blessed me with a second husband and another son. I loved him from the moment we met. We became a beautiful blended family. Randy was so funny and full of life as a child. He wasn’t my biological son, but we had a mother-son bond that was unbreakable. I miss him every day. His two beautiful daughters look just like him, and I love my granddaughters so much. Their dad was senselessly murdered and taken away from them. Our son’s killer has not been arrested; that keeps me upset. I stay in prayer for my family and myself and turn it into power.

I also lost my first husband to gun violence, leaving me with four young children. He was shot in the head, coming from work. His killer was never brought to justice.

That’s why I volunteer as a Survivor with Moms Demand Action—to fight for peace, racial justice, inclusion and diversity. We fight for all survivors, to get guns off the street and end gun violence.

It’s critical to share your voice.

Carmen Pagan (S.O.M.B.E.R)

My name is Carmen Pagan. On January 3, 2016, at 5:59 p.m., my oldest brother, Richard Davila, was shot three times and killed as he made his way across the street to my mother’s home. Richard was caught in between a drug turf war, where the individuals who were standing on opposite sides of West Wishart Street decided to open fire, from one end to the other, at each other. My brother was caught in the crossfire.

After the shots rang out, my mother called my brother’s cell phone to make sure he was OK, and there was no answer. My mother, father and siblings ran out after the shooting ceased and found my brother lying between the sidewalk and street unresponsive. He took his last breaths on that cold sidewalk on that day. My mother called me shortly after, and it is a phone call I will never forget: a mother’s cry for the loss of her son. In October 2020 I would place that same call to my mother, as my son had been shot three times but survived. So many lives changed forever. Too many gone too soon.

Ajayy Sensei (Our Hero)

On June 11, 2017, in Albany, Georgia, my entire life changed when my daughter, Jazmen, called me, screaming, that she had been pistol whipped in front of her apartment. “Where is Anthony?” was my question to her.

“I don’t know, Mom.” Within minutes, everything changed as the officer told us we were dealing with a homicide, and it was my son, Anthony, who was running to save his sister from being senselessly beaten by a police officer’s son. My daughter was assaulted viciously. Our family have had to put our lives back together as we’ve continued to demand justice for Anthony’s murder and Jazmen’s assault.

Justice is prevailing because the perpetrator who pulled the trigger has been sentenced to life in prison, and we’re awaiting the outcome for the girl who was involved too.

I am now a parent who shares how I’ve survived having my son’s life taken. He was an amazing young man that loved life, family and his friends. I’ve made the conscious decision to help others find a better way of coping with their grief by continuing to share how I’m thriving.

We truly miss Anthony Marquis Wright.

RM Griego

I deeply miss my brother’s deep, barking laugh, complete with a silly grin and sparkling eyes. My heart aches when I think of him and his wife, of my gregarious nephew (age 9), lovable niece (age 5), and my baby angel of a niece, with the biggest brown eyes (age 2). The sorrow never ends.

The call came around 1 a.m. that mid-January Sunday morning. “Auntie Gina, is it true! Is my dad and the family dead?” It was my niece, who had seen a Facebook post about the deaths. This story is about a perfect storm that took five of my family members, all victims of gun violence committed by my troubled nephew. This happened eight years ago, and it changed my life and the lives of many, forever.

I wish I had been more vigilant about what was happening in my brother’s home, including the fact that he kept six guns and ample ammunition, all bought through private sale, all unsecured and therefore accessible to any of his four children.

The ripple effect of gun violence is devastating. I am convinced that my family members would still be alive today if those firearms had been stored securely.

Jackie, GiGi, & Fluff

On February 27, 2019, Jackie and both of her children, GiGi and Fluff, were murdered in their home in an act of family annihilation committed by Jacqui’s boyfriend of 13 years. Naturally, her family was devastated.

As we navigated through what would soon become our new normal, we learned that on the night of the murders, the perpetrator attacked Jackie, beating her beyond recognition. Based on the evidence and testimony from a family member of the perpetrator, it is our belief that after being beaten, Jackie was running upstairs either to get away, or to get to a phone to call someone. It was as she was running up the stairs that she was shot in the back and left to die at the top of the stairwell. After such a heinous act, the perpetrator then contacted his family member and allowed her to listen as he shot both of his children once in the side of the head, killing each of them instantly.

It is our hope that by sharing the story of Our 3, we will be able to shine a light on the devastation that gun violence leaves in this country.