Natasha Christopher’s 14-year-old son, Akeal, was visiting his grandmother a few miles away in Bushwick, Brooklyn. So Christopher went to bed early, with her two younger sons asleep down the hall. When her boyfriend’s phone rang in their dark bedroom around 11 p.m., she could not imagine why someone would be calling so late. Then her boyfriend told her the unthinkable: Her oldest son had been shot in the back of his head as he walked to a friend’s house after a neighborhood party.

“Before that moment, if anybody told me that my son would become a victim of gun violence, I would have told them they were lying,” the 47-year-old mother said. “I was doing everything right. Akeal was a great kid. He never got into trouble.”

Joel Arbaje for The Trace Natasha Christopher’s 14-year-old son, Akeal, was visiting his grandmother a few miles away in Bushwick, Brooklyn. So Christopher went to bed early, with her two younger sons asleep down the hall. When her boyfriend’s phone rang in their dark bedroom around 11 p.m., she […]

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