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Who Killed Him? By Rachael Parker

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One year ago, on June 3, 2020, I had just made it home from a long night at the bakery and was sitting on my couch on the phone with a friend when I heard gunshots. I remember pausing and telling him that I just heard gunshots, and I thought they were coming from Knoxville Avenue because it sounded kind of close. What I did not know was that I was hearing the VERY SHOTS that killed my one and only son.

Less than 5 minutes later, I received a call from my granddaughter’s mom asking me if I had talked to my son. When I said no, she started crying and said, “they’re saying that Ryan got shot.” I remember my heart racing and panic setting in as I asked her where is he and she said down the street on Bigelow.

I play that night over and over in my head, trying to put together the pieces of a puzzle that I never saw the full picture of. The pain that I feel is sometimes so unbearable it takes my breath away. It’s like you just want to explode inside. I keep asking myself why? There is absolutely nothing he could have done to deserve to have his life taken away from him and him from us.

Ryan was a kind, very generous, and handsome young man. He was someone that everyone wanted to hang with. He always made sure the people around him were okay and that they had what they needed. He never did anything that would harm anyone. His kids were his whole world, and they could do no wrong in his eyes. I think about the things he will never be a part of, like his own wedding, attending his kid’s graduations, missing all the milestone events in their lives, and never becoming a grandparent. The things that a lot of people take for granted.

It saddens me to see so many shootings and so many young Black men and women dying in this city. Dying prematurely before what they were purposed to be even manifested. People, please wake up! Know that when you go out there in anger with a gun to resolve your beefs, that you are taking out someone’s baby, someone’s dad, someone’s brother, uncle, cousin… and FOR WHAT? We have spent our entire lives fighting for equal rights, fighting to be seen as the strong, resourceful, brilliant people that we are. But do we all believe that? Do we all really believe that our lives matter?

I know there is someone out there who is reading this that knows what happened to Ryan that night. Someone that knows someone who was a part of that tragedy. Someone that overheard someone talking about it. All I am asking of you is to do the right thing and clear your conscience.

You can remain anonymous and call Crime Stoppers at (309) 673-9000 and tell them who killed my son.

Rest in peace, baby boy; you are done with the troubles of this world. I will see you in the morning.

Love you! You will live in my heart forever—your mom.