The streets of Wilmington, Delaware, are plagued by gun violence, as one family knows all too well.
Tondra Mangrum, Mother of Jamar I Kilgoe, victim of gun violence:
“When he was a baby, look how much him and his son resemble. This is what he was doing when they killed him. You don’t expect to bury a child and it’s, it’s tough. February the 16th of 2015. Jamar, he was murdered in Rose Hill Community Center in Newcastle County. In a community center, which should be a safe haven. Seniors, Kumba classes, Zumba classes I mean, daycare, Boys and Girls Club, everything is in this building. And one person just walks in, shot him in his head and walked right back out.
“And then, the day before Mother’s Day 2017, my youngest son Shaquil was shot eight times. I thought he was gone. He was paralyzed. And those are my only two sons. One was murdered and one is paralyzed.
“In Wilmington, it’s just like on a norm now. Like, okay, you hear gunshots and this is regular. Three shootings in one day and then it’s broad daylight, like, you don’t even care that you’re seen.”
Shaquil Kilgoe, Victim of gun violence, son of Tondra Mangrum:
“I was on my way to clock in for a shift when somebody tried to take my life. Bullets pierced here, the left side of my chest, made its way, grazed the heart, punctured a lung. Life changed. I can’t, I can’t feel anything below the belly button.
“I don’t know how there’s so many guns on the streets. It’s just too many of them. Every corner, in any part of the city, doesn’t matter, guns are around. Somebody has a gun and somebody is willing to get rid of one for a price.
“Whether it’s Wilmington, Philadelphia, Kansas City, the streets are the streets.
“The urban city really don’t have too much to offer the youth. Too many young kids have too much time on their hands and they’re not using it productively. That’s where the guns come into play. Poverty in the inner city is just horrible. The youth did not push to get a job. They are more pushed to sell drugs or buy a weapon and steal. I was a thief at one point but I learned from it.”
“When I was coming up, I remember, I think we would walk from one side of town to the other side of town with our babies in the strollers and you didn’t have to worry about you got to duck down because somebody could just come past shooting. We didn’t have to worry about that. Guns are too accessible for young kids to get to them. Where are they getting them from? And it’s too many. It’s like 16, 17, 18-year-olds, 13s carrying guns. They’re babies.”
“A perfectly normal life can turn upside down in a blink of an eye, in a blink of an eye. You could be walking one day and be in the chairs like mine the next, or worse. Hopefully, I can help the youth make the right decision, so they won’t come down this path I came down. Young guys, right here. Guns, it’s not the way to go. It’s sad because people your age, younger, they can get access to guns so easily. I just pray you all don’t go down the wrong route. It’s not cool to play with guns. It’s not cool to be shot. Please. I’m talking to you guys right here, right in front of me.”
“I can say in this cemetery, it’s quite a few people that I know that have lost either their sibling, their child, their uncles, aunts, even aunts to gun violence. Not only is my son buried here. My nephew Nathaniel Mangrum is buried here due to gun violence. My nephew Raekwon Mangrum is buried here due to gun violence. And one of my son’s best friends is buried here due to gun violence. It’s senseless, it’s senseless.”