The Cost Of Crime: Beyond The Statistics
Photos are all Lisa Donel has left of her middle son, Avondre. She remembers him as “Awesome, absolutely awesome. An honor student, athletic, just fun. He sang in the church choir, participated very strongly in our church.”
Avondre would have been graduating from high school in a few weeks.
On Mother’s Day two years ago everything changed.
The family had come home from church. 15-year old Avondre went down the street to play basketball with another teen. Avondre waited on the porch for his friend to change clothes. The other boy came outside. Neighbor Gary Parker was having dinner. He says he heard a shot. It made him jump and look out the window. He saw both boys on the floor of the porch. The other boy lifted his head up to peep and make sure the coast was clear.
Avondre didn’t move.
The neighbor ran to get Lisa. When she ran down the street she saw the basketball on the ground, her son “laid out on the porch” and she still doesn’t know what happened.
In that neighborhood on that week in May, there were also news reports of two home invasions, two assaults and an armed robbery.
But crime isn’t just measured in numbers. It’s measured in the people affected, the hearts broken.
Lisa says crime, “Took away someone who was really a very strong part of our family, of our community, of our church. A person who could have made the difference that Detroit needed.”
Avondre’s classmates at University High School in Ferndale held a vigil for Avondre. At school, they wrote messages on the door of his locker — a precious keepsake for his mom. These are things children shouldn’t have to do.
Just weeks after the shooting, Lisa rented an apartment in a nearby suburb. Her younger son, 12 year old Jordan, needed to move.
“He came to me and said, ‘Ma, we can’t stay here no more. I don’t want to stay here. I’m scared.”
Lisa isn’t ruling out a move back to Detroit, but for now, crime has robbed the city of another family.
Avondre is the second son Lisa has buried. Her oldest boy, Christian, died of a rare cancer. She sighed then said, “No mother should have to deal with that.”
Lisa’s message to all of us is we have to take responsibility if we are to solve our crime problem. “We need to go back to being nosey.”
The person who shot Avondre is still free. And crimes like this can only be solved if people speak up.
Lisa told us, “It’s not cowardly to tell what happened, its not being a snitch to tell what happened, It’s helping this mother find closure.”
If you know anything about Avondre’s murder, you can report it anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1 800 Speak up.
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