A room full of people whose paths should have never crossed. Three mothers who have each lost a child. Two kids killed by gun violence. One death still unsolved.
Rochelle Wilson wept as she stepped away from the healing circle.
“I can’t do this, I just can’t be here,” she said with tears running down her face.
The body of her son, Cameron Wilson, was found in a Fife parking lot near Pacific Highway East and Willow Road on May 13. Cameron was murdered by a gunshot wound to his chest.
His murder is still unsolved as the investigation continues, said Fife Assistant Chief of Police David Woods.
King County Credible Messengers hosted a healing circle for the family and friends of Cameron on Friday, June 14.
The healing circles allow those close to the deceased to talk about their grief, the trauma and healthy coping mechanisms as a way to work through the emotions of death.
Many of Wilson’s family members were joined by King County Credible Messenger mentees and leaders, as well as Federal Way resident Alexis Broussard.
Broussard’s son, 17-year-old Antonio Malik Douglas, was shot along Marine View Drive in Tacoma and died shortly after being taken to the hospital on Dec. 4, 2018.
“I know what you’re feeling, I’m there with you,” Broussard said to Rochelle Wilson after the two met for the first time on Friday. “The only difference is that I know who did this to my baby.”
Dorricko Jovell Jimerson-Easterling was charged with first-degree manslaughter and second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm on Dec. 10, 2018. Jimerson-Easterling was 17 years old at the time of the shooting and is being tried as an adult in Pierce County Superior Court. His trial is set for July 10, pending the outcome of his omnibus hearing on June 25.
“Federal Way is too small for our kids to be losing their lives,” Broussard said.
Anqunnettia “Ann” Howard is the mother of Credible Messengers facilitator Eddie Howard. Her daughter, Tieshia Monique Howard, was 16 years old when she was run over and killed in 1998. Tieshia was pregnant at the time of her death.
The driver was under the influence at the time of the crash and apprehended shortly after, Eddie Howard said. Tragically, the driver was killed the same way he killed Tieshia exactly four years later in 2002.
The three mothers traded stories through tears, all searching for some way to heal from the deaths of their kids.
There were striking similarities between the murders of Cameron and Antonio as the moms spoke on Friday evening, such as their ages and how certain pieces of evidence were found. The two moms even discovered their boys had similar social circles through friends and athletics.
“I told myself I have to do this,” Broussard said about coming to Cameron’s healing circle.
KCCM held a healing circle for Broussard’s family and friends when her son died in 2018. Antonio had been attending Credible Messengers meetings for a few weeks prior to his death.
The first Credible Messengers meeting that Antonio missed was the night he died, Broussard said.
All three mothers comforted one another at the most recent event, offering tissues, hugs and solace in knowing they were not alone.
“I don’t actually think that I’ve grieved,” Rochelle Wilson shared at Friday’s healing circle.
She’s now trying to keep herself occupied rather than face her grief.
“Just trying to find something to help me not have to go home and cope with the empty room,” she said, tears welling in her eyes. “… I’m still running from it.”
The grief journey is twisted and often brings her back to the “what ifs.”
“The hardest part is those last few minutes that you looked your baby in the eye and what you wish you would’ve said or wish you would’ve did,” she said. “Those moments … Would they have changed anything?”
What helps Rochelle Wilson is knowing her son made a huge impact in his life cut too short, she said.
“It’s so unfortunate,” she said about the senseless gun violence killings. “It’s a sickening, filthy, nasty thing.”
Upon learning of Cameron’s death, the first emotion was disbelief, said Eloise Wilson of her grandson’s death.
“You just can’t accept it. Then the pain of it, the anger of it. Then you think about it, he was only 17.”
Some families never even get to have their kids for even 17 minutes, she said, so the Wilson family was blessed to have had nearly two decades with Cameron.
Cameron’s older sister, Tyeisha Taylor, said she takes it literally one unsteady step at a time.
“He’s always right on the forefront of my mind.”
Attendees of Friday’s event poured water into a potted flower while saying a positive affirmation, phrase or simply thinking a good thought. This act, followed by saying “Ashe” (pronounced ah-shay) which means “so it shall be” or “it is done,” symbolizes the flow of spiritual life and regrowth.
The healing circle held vigil candles and observed a 17-second silence for Cameron to represent his few years of life on earth.
Anyone with information regarding the suspect, or suspects, involved, suspicious activity in the area at the time, or vehicles possibly involved is urged to submit a tip to Crime Stoppers of Tacoma-Pierce County by calling 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).