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Families of Indianapolis gun violence victims find healing through brunch

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Posted at 9:42 PM, Oct 14, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-15 01:05:06-04

INDIANAPOLIS — People whose loved ones have died due to gun violence share a trauma few understand. A meal in Indianapolis this weekend gave them the chance to share their pain.

The third annual Stop Gun Violence Brunch hosted families affected by gun violence. The event is led by Kelly Langford, who lost her son, Daiontez Locke, in a shooting four years ago.

"Everyday I have to really push myself to go," Langford said. "Some days I just want to give up. I just can't give up."

The brunch helped grieving family members learn to take deep breaths when panic and anxiety sets in. They also wrote letters to whomever killed their loved ones as a therapeutic exercise.

The letter-writing idea came from Lyn Hill, whose son Chris Walton was one of three people killed after a shooting in Broad Ripple this summer.

"There's a lot of mothers that are screaming for justice," Hill said. "In every situation, I handle grief differently. I am getting better because now I feel like I'm surrounded by a group of people that I don't have to pretend that I'm okay with."

Langford said the collective healing motivates her to put on the brunch year after year.

"It's an epidemic of sadness," Langford said. "It's heartbreaking."

Hill is managing her grief better after a suspect was arrested in her son's death last month, but said her son's death is still far from easy to handle.

"I will be okay, but it's just the thought that its only been three months and I have a lifetime to go," Hill said.