WASHINGTON (FOX 5 DC) - As D.C. police continue to investigate who killed an 11-year-old child Saturday, families who have also lost children to gun violence are forced to relive their pain.
Davon McNeal was murdered at a community cookout on July 4th. His mother Crystal McNeal works as a Violence Interrupter for the city and organized the event on Cedar Street in the Anacostia section of Southeast. She said her son was an innocent bystander to a neighborhood feud.
FOX 5 spoke to Donnetta Wilson and Monique Scott about the trauma of continuing to see children murdered in their community.
“When I got the news on this baby, it just broke my heart,” said Wilson, whose 10-year-old daughter Makiyah was killed two years ago. “It’s like you put a Band-Aid over a wound and then snatch it off.”
Scott’s son Maurice was 15 when he was shot and killed just over a year ago.
“People ask me, ‘Are you all right?’ I don’t know what to do,” said Scott. “Every time you turn your TV on, some child got hurt.”
The mothers said there has to be change, but they need help.
”If we step up together as a community with the police department, it’s going to make a change,” said Wilson. “Because they’re going to see us working together. You don’t see that all the time.”
She said it’s time for people to start talking to police if they know something about a crime, time to be there for kids in the community and time to put down the guns.
Davon’s grandfather is also issuing a call to action. John Ayala founded the DC Guardian Angels, an anti-crime group. He was with Mayor Muriel Bowser at a press conference Monday and also posted on social media asking people to join him.
“It changes with one child at a time, one teenager at a time, one adult at a time,” said Ayala. “We all working together as one. That’s the only we’re going to the situation solved.”
D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham said Monday that investigators had made “significant progress” in Davon’s case.