I was 12 years old when my mother, Elizabeth Ann Scales, was brutally murdered by our next door neighbor.
A few months before the murder occurred, I, along with my sisters, saw our next door neighbor strike my mother with a baseball bat while saying, “I’ll kill you.” One of the blows broke her left hand. My mother pressed charges on him and was awaiting the court date. He began to terrorize our family, trying to make my mother drop the charges and move from the neighborhood.
Then, on June 5, 1981, our neighbor made good on his promise. At around 2:30 in the afternoon, he went into our house and shot my mother up close, at the base of her neck, with a sawed-off shotgun. My mother died instantly.
I have used my experience to help others. I’ve been a community outreach activist against gun violence for a number of years and recently wrote the book “A Young World Drawn to the Gun” to help save the lives of children and young people.