Support group helps families dealing with loss after homicides

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - It’s a group of families connected by tragedy, sharing memories and remembering loved ones taken too soon.

“When we go in there, we talk about our babies. When we go in there, we call their names,” says Mary Johnson.

They're the names of victims who lost their lives to violence.

“His name is Eric Cesar Witherspoon Jr."

Witherspoon’s mother, Sherry Bishop, says he died after a shooting on North King Street in Hampton last November.

“He was a good guy. He was a good guy. I loved that boy,” she adds.

Jackson also lost her son, Raghib Ismail Brooks, last year. Friday marks one year since his death.

Jackson has been coming to these meeting faithfully since they started back in June.

“It keeps me going because I can talk about Raghib I. Brooks,” she adds.

Police Chief Steve Drew says this group was created to support families dealing with a loss. These mothers tell us before this group was created, it was tough.

“You would have to lose a child to really understand. Most people don’t understand. People get tired of hearing about it,” said Bishop.

“This meeting has healed because you will be able to talk about it. It doesn’t become a bomb,” adds Jackson.

The two don’t want others to carry that weight alone. They say there’s a seat waiting for anyone who needs support.

“You have to be able to talk about it. It might seem monotonous because you're talking over and over again, saying the same things... however, that’s where the healing comes,” said Jackson.

The homicide support group meets on the second Wednesday of each month at the Newport News Police Headquarters.

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