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Retired police officer speaks on 'ripple effect' youth gun violence has on families, communities

teonna coburn.jpg
Posted at 3:13 PM, Jul 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-13 07:09:14-04

NORFOLK, Va. - "Teonna meant the world to everybody. She was the joy of the party,” Shaquita Horn said.

Horn is a relative of Teonna Coburn, also known as “Tee Tee,” the 15-year-old teenager who was shot and killed on Saturday. Coburn unfortunately died at the hospital.

Monday morning, Horn was walking in the neighborhood with her son where the shooting happened. He held a placard that had Tee Tee's picture and the message, "Long Live NBA 'Tee Tee.'"

The scenario is making Horn wonder why anyone would do something like this.

"I just want to know why?” Horn said. “Because she was going to come to the party that we were having, and then some guys approached them."

Saturday night's shooting was one of several that injured children throughout Hampton Roads in the last several weeks.

"I think it's on the rise, and there's a lot of questions as to why it's on the rise,” Peter Michalko told News 3. "It affects so many; it has a ripple effect."

Michalko is a retired police officer from New York with more than 30 years of experience in law enforcement. He said the trauma of a child being killed by gun violence won't just be felt that one moment.

"When a parent has to bury a child, that is something that parent will have for the rest of their lives,” Michalko said. “Every holiday is a reminder; every birthday is reminder; every anniversary of the death is a reminder, and sometimes that's more than people can bear."

He says it does not just impact the family, friends and the community, but also those who respond to the scene.

"I know of first responders who have responded to scenes that were so disturbing that it ended their careers,” Michalko said. “People don't realize what the first responders see."

The family may soon be reunited with the surviving 17-year-old gunshot victim, as the family expects him to recover. He was the second victim in the shooting.

This, while Tee Tee will forever live in their memories.

"I just want to say, fly high baby girl,” Horn sound. “We love you."

The family has set up a GoFundMe page to help raise money for funeral expenses. If you would like to contribute, click here to be taken to the fundraiser.