The impact of lives being lost cannot be summed up in a newscast or some documentary that is showing the pain and not solving it. Children are losing fathers, wives are losing husbands and mothers are losing sons. We live in an extremely fluid society these days and many of the traditional roles have shifted. It is important to remember the traditional role of what a son means to the family. These sons grow up carry on the legacy of the family. They become protectors and providers.
The murderous and agitated climate that exists now is in essence killing the legacy of many families. We are left with families that mourn for their loved ones, always wondering what could be. The voices of these families must not be drowned out by the latest internet gossip. The lives we are losing should take precedence over everything until we come to a solution.
We spoke to the Jones family, who fell victim to this dark cloud of violence. Ryan Jones was killed May 10, 2016 in a drive by shooting in the suburb of Country Club Hills, a few minutes outside of Chicago. He was a victim of mistaken identity and because of this, his children have lost their dad, his sisters lost a brother and his mom lost her only son.
Take a moment and tell us about Ryan.
Deloris Jones (mother): Ryan was my only son. He was very loving; he always gave me hugs. He liked to go to church. I’m not trying to put my son up on a pedestal or anything like that. He was just a well rounded young man. He liked to party, he was the entertainer for our family, he was the jokester, he was the one that kept us laughing. It was so strange that two days before this happened, he got real serious and told us how he was trying to bring the family together. You know we have some people who didn’t come around, one in particular, and Ryan talked to them and they did come around. Ryan was a loving young man who would do anything for you. He did everything we asked him to do. We would run him in the ground. We only had the one man and he was the one. Not to say that we don’t have husbands or significant others, but Ryan was the go to. He was a very well liked young man.
Dr. Alexis Jones (sister): Ryan was my best friend. I talked to Ryan almost everyday. He was my kick it partner; we had our own dances, our own language. He was the uncle/daddy to my kids. He was my best friend.
Michele Drumgole (sister): He was the only man in our family. So at one time he held us all up. He was our perfect man. He was my dance partner for every wedding and event. Now, I have a man to dance with and I want my brother to be able to see it, but someone took him away from me. He wasn’t perfect, but he was our perfect man.
Deloris Jones (mother): When I got the call it was horrific. I was cooking dinner with my sister who was visiting from NC. My youngest sister called me and said, “Lois it’s bad; they shot my house up and Ryan got shot.” There is so much in what she said. When she said, “it’s bad,” I didn’t know if she was talking about Ryan or her house. I’m hanging on to it being her house. She called and told me he was going to South Suburban [hospital] then to Christ, then back to South Suburban. I calmed down because South Suburban is not a trauma center. I called the hospital and spoke with a nurse who told me she had not seen his chart yet. I told my cousin Patty she was lying. All the indicators were there that my son was gone. When I got there, they put us in a room. The chaplin would not say anything and all of us are angry because no one would talk to us. I just kept asking is my son alive. I wanted answers. I just wanted to slap the chaplin.
Dr. Alexis Jones (sister): I called around to some ER friends I know. I called the ER directly to speak with the charge nurse. They mistook me for a different Dr. Jones and they finally came and got me.
Melonie Jones (sister): We were there for three hours and I have worked trauma before and I saw the indicators when they put us in the room. I felt like he was ok, not realizing that feeling was him letting us know he was at peace and he was gone.
What does RJ mean to you?
Michele Drumgole (sister): He was my little brother; he was a good guy and he loved us all. It’s just real emotional and as siblings we don’t always do right, but he knew I loved him.
Dr. Alexis Jones (sister): He was our spiritual leader. He led the prayer at dinner.
Deloris Jones (mother): Our family was very close we get together for every birthday. Ryan started to make enough money to buy the cakes. When he started to make more money he would buy us cards with money in them even when it wasn’t anyone’s birthday.
What are you feeling now?
Deloris Jones (mother): I’m feeling angry. I’m feeling hopeful that we can do something about this so that the rest of our kids can live in this society today. I’m feeling really hurt because there is a hole. When we get together now I always ask myself where the rest of my kids are. I know we lost Ryan but it feels like I lost a lot of kids. I’m sad that he is out there in the dirt and I know that’s where people get buried, but I don’t want him down there underneath that dirt.
Michele Drumgole (sister): I feel just like my mother does but mostly I feel cheated, they stole my brothers life and they can’t give it back. He doesn’t get to see his kids off at prom or when they get married. Our family is cheated. His children are cheated.
Alexis Jones (sister): I’m super sad for his kids. He has 2 sons. He would do anything for them. He was a great dad and he loved his kids. I saw them this weekend and my nephew was visibly upset after seeing all of the pictures of his father at my moms house.
Who do you blame for this?
Deloris Jones (mother): I blame the people who shot him and I feel like my sister should have called the police earlier that day because of what happened to her. I feel like if she would have called the police that would not have happened to Ryan.
Please finish this sentence: I wish the murderer of my child would…
Deloris Jones (mother): Be incarcerated for the rest of their life. I’m not going to say I want him to fry, but I definitely don’t want him to have his freedom. If I were a different person, the person I used to be, I would say I want them dead. I would kill them myself for the satisfaction. I’m not that person anymore. I do believe in God and it’s not for me to take another person’s life. I’m not going to say I want him dead, but I do want him to suffer.
Where on your body do you feel the pain of this loss the most?
Deloris Jones (mother): The pain is located right in my heart all the time. It’s in my head because my head hurts. I can feel the pain just above my heart. All of my energy is drained.
What do you say to the public about what you are going through?
Deloris Jones (mother): I would just like to say that they never want to be in my position. I know there are others and I feel for them now more than I ever did before. I felt for them before. I’m a member of a club that I never wanted to join. Nobody really understands unless they have gone through it. I never want anybody to have to go through this. This has hurt me so bad I have contemplated suicide. The only reason I didn’t is that it would be so much worse [for my other children]. But I didn’t do it and I’m not going to because it’s a choice and I’m not going to choose to hurt them.