October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Read and share stories to honor survivors whose lives have been changed by domestic violence.

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Barbara A. Hopkins

In memory of Brian Anthony Hopkins

Brian Anthony Hopkins was the only son born to Anthony and Barbara Hopkins on September 23, 1983. Brian loved his family, cooking and his music with all his heart!! Brian was an excellent rapper! He has some music videos recorded on his Facebook page. He was gunned down by a total stranger on September 16, 2017, just seven days prior to his 34th birthday.

Instead of celebrating him at a dinner that was planned at one of his favorite restaurants (his family, along with a multitude of friends, were gathered dressed in red – his favorite color) expressing their love for him, Brian’s sisters TeAqua, Toniqa, along with his nieces, Jessika, Jazlyn and Fallon did a tribute to him, sharing loving stories about their lives together. Brian was very close his cousin David and Uncle Woods. Paying tribute to Brian was his cousin Quintin, who was like a brother to him.

I cannot say how many times I’ve replayed in my mind, “How did we get here,” how my son – who was quiet and not very outgoing – could be a victim to gun violence? Thankfully I wasn’t at the scene. But the story I was told was that Brian, along with a group of people, watched a basketball game then decided to go to a casino. While Brian and a few others stood outside waiting near the car, a new neighbor walked up.

After a few moments, a stranger walked up, saying “hands on the wall” that brought laughter because they said “what wall?” Then the stranger said, “Gimme what ya got” and immediately opened fire, fatally striking my son Brian in the head. Two other young men were also shot; one in the face, and another in the back. My son Brian was the only fatality.

I was awakened by my phone at 2:00 a.m. I saw it was my granddaughter and I answered “What is it Jazz?” and my granddaughter in a very calm voice said “Gommy, Uncle Brian’s been shot.” Ironically I’d had a dream the night before about my son and me being together but I had humongous muscles in my back. God immediately spoke to me and said “I’ve shown you your strength. With that supernatural strength I was able to bury my only son.” He didn’t have children, but his memory will forever be in the hearts of all who were blessed to be in his life. Unfortunately the murderer is still at large, which leaves my child’s murder in the cold case files.

I’m thankful for memories shared by him on Facebook, and I received a letter from one of his teachers stating what a wonderful student he was and the potential she saw in my son. I’m grateful for prayers of my family and friends along with a support group called “The Sisterhood,” a group of mothers who’ve also lost their children to gun violence… #reallove40

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