Le-Kavis Henicks was 13 when he was shot in the back of the head in 2007. His mom, Brenda Henicks, was en route to pick him up when it happened.
The Columbia mother was one of many parents who showed up at the State House Sunday afternoon to mourn their dead children. She described her son as athletic – loving to play almost any sport involving a ball – and intelligent, looking forward to college.
“I wouldn’t wish this on any other mother,” Henicks said. “We don’t wish for our children to cross over before we do.”
At the same time as the State House rally – which was put together by the organization Parents of Murdered Children – people nationwide, including in Columbia, gathered for the Concert Across America to End Gun Violence.
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The reason all of this happened today? Nine years ago, Congress designated Sept. 25 a day of remembrance for homicide victims, according to a news release from concert organizers.
There were at least two such concerts in Columbia, according to www.concertacrossamerica.org. One was at Main Street United Methodist Church in downtown Columbia, the other at Cool Beans near the USC campus. Kathy Handel and Cheryl Soehl, with the Faith Coalition on Gun Violence, organized the first one. The Columbia concerts were among 350 nationwide, according to the event website.
“It’s becoming intolerable how many people we lose to gun violence,” Soehl said.
There are more than 33,000 people fatally shot in the United States each year, according to the statistical analysis website FiveThirtyEight. About 12,000 of those each year are homicides.
Among those who came to Columbia was Audrey Varner, from Walterboro. She was part of a group organized by the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office. Her son was shot April 18 while at home with his girlfriend.
“I need to be open and listen to everybody else feel the same pain I feel,” Varner said. “It might give me a little bit of closure and help me day by day.”