I sent Joseph “Jojo” Lee a text at 12:03 a.m. PST that included Matthew 18: 19-20 on August 27, 2017. He was bleeding to death in St. Louis, Missouri, at that moment. I received a call at 8 a.m. that day and tried to book a flight to get my baby, but flights were grounded because of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria and Lidia. My baby was in a freezer and I felt helpless being 1,800 miles away. At LAX I cried, waiting for any flight with evacuees from Texas.
Jojo was a college student with plans of serving in the Marine Corps with rank and higher pay by earning an associate degree. He graduated high school with 64 college credits. I landed in St. Louis September 1. I sat outside the medical examiner’s in the dark until someone arrived. It was my 40th birthday and the birthday of my youngest son, Jojo, named and turned 2.
Jojo came from a military family. My brother is a 9/11 vet; his father and my ex-husband, both Desert Storm vets, were diagnosed with PTSD. I am the founder of Pray4theprey827 today, in an effort to share my family’s journey of how gun violence affects families. Jojo had a son, born four months after he died.