We began our Violent Crime Project with the premise of looking into the lasting effects on those who have lost a loved one to violence.
Here, we come across these events far too often. A random shooting, a stabbing, someone beaten. And sometimes in the worst of these events, someone dies.
We were fortunate that people opened their homes and hearts, and shared their experiences with us.
We heard from Renee Garcia, the mother of Aaron Kelly Jr., 13, who 10 years ago was killed by a stray bullet as they drove away from Louis Park in Stockton.
There was the family of Salvador Castañon, 76, who died in 2005 three weeks after being robbed and beaten near Bianchi Road and March Lane in Stockton.
It was startling to discover that for those we interviewed the tragedy never ends, and violence leaves a wound that never really heals.
It may scab over, but the wound does not heal.
On some levels, it’s understandable, given how a loved one is literally ripped from a family without notice.
And that in a way was how Debra Ellison-Jones described her life.
She called after she viewed the first two installments of our series.
Sadly, she is far too familiar with the feelings expressed by those featured in those stories.
“I am the epitome of grief,” Ellison-Jones said.
Charles Baker Jr., her 49-year-old son, was shot to death on Feb. 13 at a West Valley City, Utah, apartment complex where he was staying with friends. Two others were injured in the shooting.
The alleged shooter in Baker’s death was a 15-year-old boy.
According to reports, detectives determined there was some sort of altercation just prior to the shooting “involving multiple people, including juveniles and adults.”
But like Lecia Harrison, who started a nonprofit to continue the legacy of he son, Brandon, Ellison-Jones wants to help others, too.
She said she hopes that by sharing her story, that others will be encouraged to tell theirs.
Her dream is to begin a grief support group for women primarily age 50 and older.
“It needs to be out there that you’re not alone,” she said. “It’s a rough, hard journey.”
When tragedy strikes, people react and are there to offer support, she said. But “two months down the road, nobody talks to you,” no one supports you.
And processing that loss takes far longer.
Ellison-Jones’ grief was compounded by the death of her daughter, Toni Ellison, 48, on June 16 from cancer.
Ellison-Jones has teamed with Gauri Sanchez, a marriage and family therapist, to work toward forming a support group.
“There is a lot of pain in the community, there is a lot of trauma that has not been addressed,” Sanchez said. “There is a need for this; to not let that tragic event define their lives.”
The two plan to hold a meeting for anyone interested in this topic at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 11 at Fathers and Families of San Joaquin, 338 E. Market St., Stockton. For more information contact Ellison-Jones at email@example.com.
Contact Editor Donald W. Blount at (209) 546-8251 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at recordnet.com/editorblog and on Twitter @donblount.