The Swanson Family
Gun Violence Survivors
Family member taken by gun violence

September 19, 2015, Deshon was taken from us in a drive-by shooting just two blocks from here. He was 10 years old. A house was sprayed with bullets and Deshon was struck by one of the bullets. To this day, we still do not have any arrests .

We were actually coming back from a friend of mine’s baby shower the day it happened. We pulled up to give our condolences to a friend [whose] grandmother passed away. We walked in the house, we greeted everyone, and five minutes later, we heard gun shots. 

I think what keeps me going is the other kids… What keeps me getting up and saying, "I got to get out of the bed," or "You can't cry every day," or "You got to pull yourself together," is the other kids. I don't want to just fall apart and leave them with no one. We all are hurting from this, and we all got to get by it. I just try to get the story out there to keep him alive because this has happened to him and it could happen to anyone.

No one is being punished for this 10 year old who's life is gone. You see everyone move on with life and they have their families, they have their kids growing up… and we still always wonder, "What about little man? What would he be doing?" My baby would have been 13 this year, a teenager, and I'm not going to see that. 

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[The shooting] affected our lives permanently, and it's affected the way we do things. I try to make sure that I keep my kids close, or I always know where they're at. I won't go to any more gatherings because it reminds me of what happened… I don't celebrate the holidays. I don't take that from my children, I let them enjoy their time, but I don't celebrate. I don't celebrate my birthday.

It's like somebody's missing, and it's always a reminder when you have that celebration of what you're missing, what you're family's been through, what they had to survive. We're all affected… We're not seeing him grow up like everybody else. We're seeing his friends. We're not seeing him. All of our lives have changed forever. 

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I find my moments of joy in watching other kids play, watching the joys of their life. Although it can be sad, sometimes I still attend the football games, the little league that he played for, and just watching the younger kids of the family and play. When I came out to do this project… I just really wanted to get this story out here and to just keep “little man" alive. He deserves some justice in some form, and hopefully someday soon.

I have felt that Deshon's story was not as important; that it wasn't broadcasted as much as other stories that happened at that time. It makes you feel like because we were in a certain neighborhood, that this story was just forgotten, or it was just brushed away. This baby is gone, and nothing happened.

To get people in other places to actually care about what goes on here ... It's sad to say, but I don't think nobody cares until it happens to them. I think a lot of people don't even look or pay attention until it happens in their home. [Not] until that innocent child has been hit with a bullet, that they understand.