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Healing from grief: A mother who loses son to police shooting seeks to keep other youth from crime

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There’s been a perpetual hole in Angela McCain’s heart that came on Christmas Day in 2016. 

Her 29-year-old son, Gerald Javon Hall, was shot and killed by police who responded to a call following an altercation with his girlfriend on that fateful day in the District. Police say he was wielding a knife — a charge his family denies.

The process of healing has been difficult for McCain, who created a non-profit foundation to help raise money and awareness of youth violence and to deter youngsters from settling their disputes with weapons that kill. 

It will target elementary school children as they turn into teenagers, she said.

“When they get to like sixth, seventh and eighth grade, this is where it all seems like it starts, where they start robbing and taking people’s cars and killing people,” McCain said in an interview. “The gun violence comes from fear. So they think they go to the gun, and this will make me tough.”

She formed JHALLWaysGunFreeFoundation on December 30, which would have been Gerald’s 36th birthday, and it was approved by the District’s Department of Licensing and Consumer Protection Corporations Division on Wednesday.

This is the way, McCain said, for her to heal the wounds from her son’s death.

“My son Javon was a good father. He was an electrician. He was in school,” she said. “He was about to get his journeyman’s license. People, when they do things like that, they feel like…it’s over and everything’s OK. No, that hurts everybody.”Mayor Bowser remains committed to fighting crime in 2023

McCain said she also felt like this was a way to keep his name alive and not forgotten, especially the fact that he has four children and served in the U.S. Navy.

“When they took his life, I was just destroyed,” she said. “It destroyed me and my kids. It’s a trickle-down effect.”

The rash of killings in DC among juveniles have hurt her deeply, she said, and her goal is to save as many people as she can.

“By the time they reach their middle school age, they will know not to pick up a gun,” McCain said. “I want to educate them. No, you value your life.”

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