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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Melissa Johnson

In memory of Billy Robles

It’s been almost one year since my oldest son was shot and killed trying to break up a fight getting off a party bus. He was only 19 years old. His killer, a 16-year-old gang member with no appreciation for human life. I have eight children; my son went to a birthday party in a group with his brother, sister and friends, in a safe neighborhood. The suddenness of his death was devastating, and identifying his body was traumatizing. His death was a homicide, so his body was considered evidence. When I saw him, he had bags on his hands, feet and head and was lying in a cold room with only a sheet covering the bottom half of his body. His face was covered with blood, and I could see the wound in his chest where he was shot. That image haunts me still today.

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