On September 27, 2020, my only son was gunned down after a party he had attended. He was shot numerous times and died on the street, alone. I don’t know who or why someone decided to end his life, but he or she took not only a son but also a brother and father. I don’t know whether we will ever get justice for this act of cowardice in my lifetime. I don’t think it will matter, either, because it won’t bring him back. I miss him so much and think of him daily, but I know he’s with God. That brings me peace.
My life is forever changed.
I was a hard-charging, successful CEO of a complex organization that included four nonprofit entities and one for-profit company. I had a 30-year relationship with my partner.
Today I could not work as a Walmart greeter due to acute PTSD. I am alone.
The difference between then and now is having been ambushed and shot point-blank in my back, at the direction of an employee, to put the brakes on an internal audit. She succeeded.
In the competition between a .45 caliber bullet and human tissue, the bullet always wins. Proof that two objects cannot exist in the same place at the same time.
Once a bullet enters a human body, it tends to rattle around until it runs out of inertia. In my case, my right hip was destroyed, requiring a total hip replacement.
I walk just fine. It’s my mental health that continues to get worse in spite of fairly continuous treatment and my consumption of medications.
My one suicide attempt resulted in a four-week stay in a psych ward. Before my partner died, I worked very hard at destroying our relationship.
No one has ever been brought to justice. Presumably my shooter was a prohibited carrier.
My partner and the father of my children was gunned down and killed driving up Central Avenue in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on January 14, 2021. His name is Mark Solano, and he was 37 years old. Our children are 8 and 6 years old, and they are now left without a father. Their hearts, as well as mine, are broken. A senseless act that took a father, son, brother, uncle, nephew, cousin and friend. We love you Mark, forever and ever and ever. We will never let your memory fade. At this time, there is no one in custody.
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.
Being from Louisville, Kentucky, I was never really sheltered from violence. It seemed as if every day, multiple times a day, the news was broadcasting another person being shot and killed. Never did I think I would be one of those people.
On March 16, 2016, my life would change forever. Around 11 or 11:30 p.m., while I was standing in my living room, talking with my boyfriend (who was on the couch), we heard what we thought were fireworks. As smoke filled the dark room, we realized what was happening. Two men had pulled up in front of our building and aimed to kill! There were bullets flying all around our front room, and as my boyfriend scurried across the floor, I was frozen with fear. As I came to, I felt this burning sensation in my left arm, but didn’t realize I had been shot! I was shot in my left arm and left breast with a 9mm bullet. To this day we don’t know why, or who they thought lived there, but I am grateful to be alive and tell my story. Police found 18 to 20 shell casings in the parking lot.
My name is Judy Duncan. My son Jeremiah Duncan was a sophomore college student majoring in communications. His life was cut short on February 4, 2020, due to senseless gun violence. He was found shot in the head in his parked vehicle. The case is still unresolved.
My son was a dual sports athlete with intent to walk on at a D1 university to play baseball. He was energetic, motivated, caring and very supportive of others. The Duncan family has organized a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization in honor of my son. Jeremiah’s Sports Foundation Inc. was founded so that he would be to be remembered as someone who cared about others as well as to help my family cope with our loss. The foundation will award scholarships to eligible college students of any sport.
The loss of my son has been very devastating for our family, and our life has not been the same. We will continue to seek justice for Jeremiah.
For further information about his story, you may visit www.jeremiahssportsfoundation.org
He is a grandson, son, brother, cousin, nephew, uncle, father, grandfather, friend, husband.
He is caring, the tall man that wraps his arms around his mother and Nana.
He is funny—so funny that I still remember having sore cheeks when my Nana dropped me off from our weekends together.
He is protective, the father of three daughters who need him and deserve him everyday.
He is brave, the courage that his two younger brothers have only been able to experience for a portion of their young lives.
We remember you as these qualities everyday. You are not a victim of senseless violence to us. You are more than a folder in someone’s drawer to us. Although it was cut short, your life matters to us, still, everyday. I’m unsure if it hurts worse that after 20 years, your murder has remained unsolved, and that it’s been unspoken of by law enforcement for at least 15 years. But I do know that it’s not right and means to me that they don’t care.
The chain is broken, but we heal everyday. We are grateful for the time we have had with you, but we miss and love you every moment we are without you.
Benjamin Edwin DeWillis, we love you and remember you … I miss you everyday, Cuz.
My son, Andre Brown, was killed February 10, 2019. Andre was very compassionate and had a big heart, often putting others first. He would give the last dollar in his pocket if someone needed it. He laughed often and was generally the person bringing laughter. Although we have many fond memories of his laughter and kindness, we are haunted by a near split-second event, a senseless act of gun violence that ended his life and changed our lives forever.
We’re living a new normal: A new normal challenged with grief and coupled with pain of uncertainty because Andre’s case remains unsolved. The challenges and difficulties associated with an unsolved murder loss seem insurmountable. The healing process seems never-ending. And although many months have passed, there are times when it seems like only minutes have passed. Grief hits like a ton of bricks, and for that moment, the impact of the trauma becomes primary. My heart is heavy from the overwhelming pain and emptiness from the loss of my son. No longer will I hear his laughter; no longer will I hear him greet me.
In May 2020, I was attacked while exiting my car in the late evening, in front of my apartment. I was shot five times by an unknown assailant, whom I didn’t see. The first shot entered and shattered my eye socket, the other four hitting my arms and shoulders and shattering my elbow. My carotid artery was damaged, and after the paramedics moved me to the ambulance, a blood clot loosened and went to my brain. This caused me to have a stroke, which, in turn, caused me to lose all feeling in my left hand, arm and leg.
Despite my injuries, I survived and left the hospital after only two months. I went back to work as prison reentry advocate and case manager, and in July, I welcomed the birth of my son.
I consider myself a walking miracle, and it is clear to me that my time was not up because I have plenty of good work to still do.
Anthony, my beautiful baby boy, my firstborn, was ripped from my life in November 2010. My son was murdered when he was only 15; his life hadn’t even begun. The case remains unsolved. Here I am, 10 years later, and it still hurts—more so than the day I last saw my baby. My life has changed dramatically, and it will never be the same.