WASHINGTON — Across the region, gun violence continues to be a major problem in our community. Just on Saturday, Sept. 24, there were three homicides in the district alone. Another person was shot and killed in Prince George's County the next day.
Each of these acts of violence leaves behind a grieving family. This is why the National Day of Remembrance for Homicide Victims exists. It's a time to reflect on loss and look for solutions.
“Brian was loving young man," said Earl Davis, standing near the Petworth Metro station. "Always smiling, always looking out for people. He played football and basketball at Theodore Roosevelt. Brian was just that all around kid that you would want to be a parent to.”
Davis is reflecting on the loss of his son, Brian Davis, who was shot and killed in October 2016 at a Halloween Party. Brian was not the target of this shooting.
Davis said that it hurts him to see other families go through the similar experience.
"It just re-traumatizes me all over again," he said. "It makes me think - every time I see it – I think about Brian all the time. It re-opens old wounds.”
Sadly, the family of Brian Davis is not alone. Hundreds of families in the D.C. region have lost a loved one. And six years after Brian's death, the homicide rate continues to remain high.
In D.C. alone, there have been 154 homicides this year.
“We have to come up with some sort of solution to try and get these kids off the street,” Davis said.
Over the last six years, Davis has tried to turn his grief into action. He started a community group called Chicken And Waffles, named after Brian’s favorite meal. Once per week, Davis invites young people from the neighborhood to come off the streets and grab a plate. Come for the food, but stay for the fellowship.
“I know right now Brian is looking down and he’s probably saying ‘dad, thank you for looking out for my friends. Thank you for trying to help them to get off the street… I can just hear him thanking me for being there for his friends to make sure they go down the right path. And not the wrong path.”