On Christmas Eve 1997, Brian Crowell was at his best friend’s house. While Brian was on the phone with his sister, Brian’s friend decided to show him the gun that he had recently discovered hidden in his mother’s room. The friend’s mother kept the unlocked and loaded gun for protection. His friend thought he removed all of the bullets from the chamber. One bullet remained. Playing, Brian’s friend pulled back the hammer, listening to the clicks of what he believed was an unloaded gun. The gun fired and shot Brian in the neck as he was hanging up the phone. Brian’s last words were “I can’t believe you shot me.” Brian tried to run home, just around the corner. He only made it to his friend’s living room, where he collapsed on the floor. His mother and father were notified by the police of the accident and asked to get to the hospital as soon as possible. Brian’s parents were unaware of the circumstances of the accident until they reached the hospital. Frantic efforts were made to save Brian’s life, including surgery, but in a short period of time Brian’s parents were told that they needed to say good-bye. Brian only had a few heart beats left.
“There will always be a hole in the family where Brian used to be. The family will never have the pleasure of watching Brian grow up and do all the things that children do, like go to the prom, graduate from high school, college, marry, and become a father.
It is my mission to get the message out to others about handgun safety and how the terrible accident that took our son from us could have been prevented. And should have been prevented. Education of our children is one thing … but I feel that the adult owner of a handgun should be responsible for accessibility and safe storage of their handgun.”
Brian’s mother Ann Marie Crowell
Ross was accidentally shot by his best friend while playing outside with a gun owned by the boy’s father. His friend thought the gun chamber was empty and pointed the gun at Ross. The gunshot fatally wounded Ross, and he in died in New Bedford, Massachusetts when he was just twelve years old.
Phranquee’ was at her boyfriend’s house in Salt Lake City, Utah where they found a gun in his home. She and her boyfriend were looking at the gun, thinking the bullet chamber was empty, when it accidentally discharged and killed Phranquee, just fourteen years old at the time.
Andrew and a friend were playing at Andrew’s house where they found an old handgun that his father had forgotten was in the house. The gun discharged, killing Andrew, who was a twelve-year-old boy from Toledo, Ohio.
Shavon was caught in between a gang fight when she was playing in a street nearby her home in Chicago, Illlinois. She was shot and killed by a twelve-year-old boy. Shavon was fifteen years old when she died.
Kyle was playing at a friend’s house in Glastonbury, Connecticut, where they found a handgun and were playing with it, thinking that the bullet chamber was empty. Kyle was accidentally shot by his friend and died at fifteen years of age.
Rickia was playing in her neighborhood in Miami, Florida when she was hit by a bullet intended for another person. She was killed at age five on the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday.
Damien was shot and killed by a fifteen-year-old on the street outside his home in Justice, Illinois. Damien was fifteen years old.
Amy was with friends in Chicago, Illinois when she was the victim of a drive-by shooting. Amy was eighteen years old.
THOMAS VANDEN BERK II
Thomas was at a party at his friend’s home in Chicago, Illinois when some teens opened fire. Thomas was killed at fifteen years of age.
Christina’s uncle was babysitting at her home in Cleveland, Ohio. They found a handgun that was loaded, and the gun accidentally discharged, killing Christina who was eight years old.