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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Diana Marie

In honor of Dedrick Earl

My name is Diana, and my life forever changed on November 16, 2016. My only child, Dedrick, age 22, went to visit a friend at an apartment complex on the other side of town, and within a couple of hours he was dead. He was shot and killed outside a friend’s apartment by an upstairs neighbor because of some dried burnt ashes that were on the shooter’s car, placed there by my son’s friend. This had nothing to do with my son. After several verbal arguments and my son trying to diffuse the situation, the shooter told them he was going to blow their heads off. He shot my son in the neck on the stairs of the apartment complex.

My son was always a mediator, a peacemaker, a gamer, a jokester, and he loved rescuing animals and helping the homeless. He always pulled his friends or classmates out of heated or dangerous situations. He was never violent, even when the shooter was repeatedly threatening him. My son was protecting himself and his friend by doing the right thing, by cleaning the car as the shooter previously threatened them to do. As they were cleaning the car moments later, he brought his unlicensed gun downstairs and told them to get away from his car and that he was going to blow their heads off. That man didn’t even know my son. He was angry that someone touched his car.

Practically two years later in court, his defense brought up that my son was running with scissors, despite the fact he told the police he never saw anything in my son’s hands and that he regretted his actions and was remorseful. Dashcam video and in-car video clearly didn’t show his remorse. He led 911 to think someone else was the shooter for minutes and minutes, even with police on the scene. This was a senseless shooting that could have been resolved peacefully. An angry man decided to solve the argument with a weapon. My son’s life is forever gone because the shooter chose to end my son’s life over something senseless. This tore my parents up to where their health started to decline. My dad couldn’t live without my son. He went into cardiac arrest eight months after my son’s death. He grieved himself to death. My father died from a broken heart.

I miss my son calling me “momma” and asking me “How was your day, mom?” My son didn’t have children, and I will never be a grandmother. I miss him every day. Now I dedicate my free time to advocate against gun violence because no one should have to live like this. That’s how I choose to honor, with action.

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