It was with a feeling of cold sick horror that I read a name in this morning's paper - Demaria, a 19 year old boy was gunned down in Richmond yesterday morning. He was on a run with 22 others, residents of housing projects, young people trying to change their lives around. They were on a training run in midmorning, training for vocations. Amongst the people running were his father and brother. Their trainer and those running heard and saw a white SUV come screeching toward the runners. Everyone saw them gun down Demaria, even continuing to shoot as he lay, dead, on the pavement.
Over my morning coffee I read the article, and honed in on the name. Could it be the Demario I know? But he is Demario, not Demaria, maybe it is a typo; please no, don't let it be. A quick calculation, Demario was back in Richmond for spring break, that means he must now be gone, back in college, away from the killing streets.
I felt clammy, my heart beat faster and a wave of nausea overcame me as I flashed onto the image of three young men lying dead on Cutting Boulevard. A tarp was being placed over one of the bodies. The other two were lying nearby, still uncovered - I saw jeans and sneakers as I drove past, feeling faint and very ill. How long ago had I seen them? Four, maybe five years ago, also gunned down in midmorning.
No, this could not be the Demario I know, but he is someone's Demario, and he lay on the streets, uncovered for a long while, as police took in all the details, the tireprints, the runner's footsteps, they questioned traumatized witnesses ...
and the horror goes on.