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“Everyone misses him,” Barbara Pritchett, the mother of slain 15-year-old Dovon Harris told the Sentinel.
“Our family is going through so much.”
Now, Pritchett and her family are joining activist groups such as the Hip Hop Leaders, the Watts Gang Task Force and Unity One to get more people on board the “Stop the Violence” campaign here in L.A. County. The groups will hold a peace conference August 16 at UCLA. Meanwhile, Harris’ killer, who is 16 years old confessed to the murder that took place last year in June and is awaiting his verdict from an L.A. jury.
Harris was leaving Centennial High School in Compton where a group of girls were fighting. One of the girls called her brother and told them she was being harassed by a group of boys and girls. According to the killer’s account he grabbed a gun intending to shoot his sister’s alleged attackers.
Unfortunately Harris, who had nothing to do with the fight, was near the crowd. He stayed on life support at a local hospital until June 17 of last year, when his family decided to take him off and donate his organs.
“The thing that kills me is that I will never know what my son could have been. I feel like our family has been robbed. It hurts,” Pritchett said.
Pritchett said Harris’ murder has had a domino effect on the family. She lost her job, which doesn’t offer bereavement time and his sister and brother have shied away from living normal teenage lives.
The young boy who killed Harris has expressed remorse for his actions, acknowledging that he did not intend to shoot him. Pritchett, as part of her crusade, is using this incident to implore parents to “know what your kids are up to... where they are.”
“We have to figure out what we’re going to do [as a community]. This has to stop. It’s unfair that I come home from work... my son asked for spaghetti for dinner that morning before we all left. I had planned to cook for him,” said a tearful Pritchett.
“It’s unfair that I had to get that phone call.”
Centennial is planning to put together a yearbook memorial for Harris who would have been a senior this coming school year. A youth group for inner city kids that he was involved in at UCLA is also planning a memorial. The same year Harris was killed, the city of Los Angeles alone reported nearly 300 gang homicides.
“Violence is inherent in gang activity,” According to the Los Angeles Police Department.
“Anybody in the area is fair game, including men, women and children. In Los Angeles County, gangs’ violent acts claim an average of one life a day. It is a lamentable fact that in our society there is such a ready and easily obtainable supply of firearms. This, coupled with the availability of drugs, including alcohol, leads too much of the impulsive violence that occurs. Consequently, within the ranks of gang members, there are youth who run the gamut from pranksters to vandals to armed robbers to murderers. It is also worth mentioning that movies, videos, and even fashions in our society often seem to glamorize youth rebellion and the gangster lifestyle...,” they said.