September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.  Read and share stories to honor survivors whose loved ones died by gun suicide.

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In memory of Christian A. Burke

On April 26, 2015, two masked men armed with guns walked into my son Michael’s unlocked apartment, with the intent to rob him and his roommate. The door was unlocked because a couple of friends had just left for the movies. Michael, his best friend, Christian, and roommate, Brandon, were sitting on the floor playing video games. They didn’t get up to lock the door after their friends left. The apartment was located in a safe neighborhood, down the street from the high school they had all graduated from. The complex was gated, and there was a security guard on duty.

One of the gunman pointed a .357 Magnum at Michael’s head, and Michael instinctively fought back. There was a brief struggle, and the gunman pulled the trigger, shooting Christian in the head. A second shot hit Brandon in the wrist and ear. Michael eventually wrestled the gun away from the gunman and hit him with it on the head, repeatedly, as the gunman fled. His DNA was all over the apartment. Brandon escaped after the second gunman fled. Michael held Christian until an ambulance arrived. Christian died en route to the hospital. He was 20.

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