LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A local mother is putting her support behind this weekend’s gun buyback event in Los Angeles to honor her son who was killed 10 years ago.
Gwendolyn Stuart-Singleton will never forget March 26, 2004.
“[My son] went to the barbershop…got his hair trimmed,” she said. “He was supposed to get back on the bus because he was going over to USC for a job interview.”
Her 25-year-old son, Stevie, skipped the bus and walked through his old neighborhood.
“Where we used to live at 49th and St. Andrews,” Stuart-Singleton said. “A guy walked in the gate, asked him what set you from. And Stevie told him, ‘I’m from the same set you are. I live around here. I lived over here all my life.’”
Stevie was shot to death.
“I never thought anything like this would happen in my household,” Stuart-Singleton said. “That was the worst day of my life. I can honestly tell you that I went to the bowels of hell and back.”
The mother’s pain became twofold.
“The irony of the situation is that the young man that murdered my child knew my son. They had gone to school together,” Stuart-Singleton said.
Stevie’s death caused heartache and grief, but boiling deep inside was anger and disbelief that all the hard work she did helping the community fight gun violence seemed wasted because no one came forward to identify Stevie’s murderers.
“I didn’t lose the anger. The anger fueled me,” Stuart-Singleton said.
The mother used her emotion to push herself into her non-profit organization called S.T.E.V.I.E. She then helped families who were suffering a loss of a loved one until she couldn’t do it anymore.
“I had to do what I was telling my clients to do. I need to get you to mental health,” she said.
This weekend, S.T.E.V.I.E will be supporting the city of Los Angeles’ gun buyback program, an effort to get illegal guns off the street.
And what would her son say about this mom’s tireless work against gun violence?
“[He’d say], ‘My mama is doing what I would expect my mama to do,’” Stuart-Singleton said.