“To bury a child is grief I can’t describe. It creates a hole in your heart that never goes away.”
Donna Hood was speaking Friday to a crowd of hundreds who had marched in a candlelight vigil from Campus Magnet High School to a car wash at Springfield and Linden boulevards, the place where her 13-year-old son, Kevin Miller Jr. ,was killed four years ago this week when he was struck by a bullet meant for a gang member.
Kevin had been heading to the McDonald’s restaurant just across Springfield Boulevard after school on Oct. 2, 2009 when two members of the Crips street gang decided to settle a fight with three members of the rival Bloods gang with guns.
A diligent student who was active in his church, Kevin never associated with gangs, and was considered an innocent victim of the violence. He was struck in the head while Pedro Garcia, a 17-year-old employee at the car wash, was hit in the leg.
Gregory Calas of St. Albans, who was convicted of firing the shot that killed Kevin, was 18 at the time of the shooting, and Nnonso Ekwegbalu, who also fired a gun in the altercation, was 16.
Both were sentenced in February to 50 years in prison.
Hood, speaking to the crowd following the candlelight procession, said she hopes the two will use their time to reflect on the life they took, and how they impacted the lives Kevin left behind.
She also said Ekwegbalu’s fate should serve as a warning to both teens and their parents.
“Only one fired the shot that killed Kevin, but both of them got 50 years,” she said. “Be careful who you hang with.”
After of the ceremony, Hood and Kevin Miller Sr. helped unveil Kevin’s honorary Class of 2013 diploma from Campus Magnet’s Humanities and the Arts HS, a diploma he would have received back in June.