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Norfolk police widow on Dallas shootings: ‘Until we come together, it’s not going to stop’

Posted at 4:08 PM, Jul 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-08 18:20:01-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Virginia Beach resident Rebekah Jones says she found out rather quickly about the shooting in Dallas.

Rebekah Jones 2

Rebekah Jones remembers her husband, fallen Norfolk police officer Brian Jones, in the wake of the Dallas shootings

“People started tagging me on Facebook, and I was like, ‘Oh my god,’” Jones told News 3’s Merris Badcock hours after five Dallas police officers were killed, and seven others were injured.

Complete coverage: Dallas police shooting

“It just opened everything right back up from two years ago,” Jones said.

Two years ago, Jones lost her husband, Norfolk police officer Brian Jones, to an active shooter.

The killer, later identified as 29-year-old James Brown, shot and killed 17-year-old Mark Rodriguez, before opening fire on Jones with an AK-47 style assault rifle.

Norfolk police officer Brian Jones, who was shot and killed in the line of duty in May 2014.

Norfolk police officer Brian Jones, who was shot and killed in the line of duty in May 2014.

Brown also shot and injured another Norfolk police officer before police fatally shot Brown after negotiations failed.

For Jones, the Dallas shootings were too close to home.

“Someone actually posted the live link [on Facebook], and when I opened it up last night, all you could hear were gunshots,” Jones said. “You could see officers getting on the ground…I immediately put my phone down. I started shaking, and I was like, ‘I can’t watch, I can’t watch.’”

A father to three children, Jones never thought she would recover from her husband’s death.jones children

“There were nights that I would go to bed, I couldn’t sleep. I would just cry. I would punch the pillow. Happiness wasn’t even in my vocabulary,” said Jones.

While there was a lot of community support for her family, there were also times of doubt.

“We were in Walmart, in Norfolk, and this was shortly after my husband had died,” Jones remembered. “We were standing in line, and we had on his memorial t-shirts, and this lady in line behind me said, ‘[expletive] the police. He deserved to die,’ right in front of my children.”

In 2014, Jones was one of 47 officers shot and killed in the line of duty across the United States. In 2015, the Officer Down Memorial Page estimates 39 officers were shot and killed in the line of duty.

In 2016, so far 26 officers have been shot and killed in the line of duty, including Virginia State Police Trooper Chad Dermyer.

Virginia State Police Trooper Chad Dermyer was shot and killed in the line of duty in March 2016.

Virginia State Police Trooper Chad Dermyer was shot and killed in the line of duty in March 2016.

Despite the pain of having her best friend and husband ripped away from her, Jones says eventually she did recover.

“I just woke up one morning, and it was all gone. I didn’t think that I would ever get to that point, but I did.”

While Jones has made peace with the man who killed her husband, she’s not sure she’ll live to the violence come to an end.

“Until we come together and we realize that black lives do matter, white lives matter, Asian lives matter, all lives matter, including police lives - until we can come together and unify, it’s not going to stop,” said Jones.

Jones is holding a peaceful rally in support of local law enforcement Saturday night at 8:30 pm at the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge in Virginia Beach (961 S. Birdneck Road).

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