NEW YORK (PIX11)—Kevin Miller Jr.'s graduation portrait hangs at a Queens intersection for all the wrong reasons. This is where the promising 13-year old was gunned down almost three years ago, a victim of senseless gun violence.
Kevin's death forever changed his mother's life and her focus.
"On his way home from school, there were two rival gangs having a dispute and he was caught in the crossfire. So he was struck in the back of the head by a stray bullet", Hood told Pix11's Jay Dow.
To this day, Donna Hood remains a dedicated soldier in the ongoing war against gun violence in New York City.
So it's no surprise that she plans to attend the August 18th Gun Buy-Back, which is co-sponsored by Pix11 and State Senator Malcolm Smith.
Bring in an operational gun and you'll be paid up to two-hundred dollars in the form of a gift card no questions asked.
The Gun Buy Back will take place at New Jerusalem Baptist Church in South Queens one of the city's most violent neighborhoods.
New Jerusalem was also Kevin Miller's spiritual home.
Rev. Calvin Rice says because of his church's unique, personal, and unfortunate connection to Kevin Miller and gun violence, there were no second thoughts about hosting the upcoming Gun Buy-Back.
Rev. Rice told Dow, "With Kevin, it's still one of the things I'm trying to get over. He was very outgoing, just had a great brilliant career ahead of him. An excellent student, and for him to be struck down at such an early age, it really left a mark in my heart and my spirit that something we have to do to try to curb this violence."
Donna Hood insists that violence has changed the way parents raise their children in New York City's toughest Black and Latino neighborhoods.
The danger here is real.
According to the NYPD, as of August 5th, one-thousand fifty-eight people have been shot so far this year. That's an 8.3-percent increase for the same time period in 2011.
One-hundred fifty-six of this year's shootings were fatal.
Hood continued, "Right now, you can't send your kids to the park. They're not safe to go to barbeques; they're not safe to go to public functions anymore. Because there're always the possibility of a shootout, or your child not coming that fear of your child not coming home is something i had to witness first hand and it's not a good feeling."
So while Donna says while the Gun Buy-Back is a good start to getting illegal guns off the street, she also believes parents need to keep up their end of the bargain.
"Parents are not parenting", said Hood. "If they hold parents accountable for their kid's actions, maybe there would be less shootings and less crimes because, there has to be accountability somewhere. It has to start somewhere."