PORTSMOUTH, Va. – A small group called Kids Against Gun Violence recently donated dozens of blankets, hats and gloves to the Portsmouth Police Department’s Homeless Outreach Team.
The group's organizer, Debra Jones, lost her son to gun violence in August of 2019. Jamel Howell was shot and killed in Portsmouth.
Jones says it was Howell’s stepson who murdered him, and his family struggles with understanding why.
“We all are wondering why. What had happened that you had to take his life?” Jones asked.
Howell’s daughters, Jakhia and Janiyah, are part of the Kids Against Gun Violence group.
“After he passed, maybe a month later, we’d start doing things he liked,” Jakhia said.
She also talked about how her dad’s giving spirit encouraged her to do more in the community.
“My dad was just a good person. Nice, overall. He was very kind to people, giving,” Jakhia said.
Jones said she created the group partly because she wanted youth like her grandkids to have a healthy outlet.
“We’re trying to get kids who have been affected by gun violence to get together, to talk to each other about what they’re going through - their pain and suffering.”
Howell’s family said they are now collecting coats to give to the police department outreach team to distribute to those in need.