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FORT MYERS | Mother shares impact of gun violence as White House launches Gun Prevention Office

Desmond Jones
Posted at 7:38 PM, Sep 25, 2023

FORT MYERS, Fla. — In 2011,13-year-old Desmond Jones was shot and killed on Lillie Street in Fort Myers.

After years of pleas for information, even billboards up to find a suspect, no arrests have been made in the case.

"A hole in your heart, it's unbearable," said Denae Hendley, Desmond's mother. "To lose your child, my only son, my baby boy just torn a hole is in my heart."

Desmond Jones

A feeling she said she wouldn't wish on anyone.

Since April of 2011, Hendley endured the emptiness of losing her child. Desmond was barely in his teen years when someone shot him in the head.

Desmond Jones

Years later his mother is still pushing for any resources to prevent another parent from enduring this same grief.

One source of support could come from a new initiative out of the White House. Friday, President Joe Biden announced the first ever "Gun Violence Prevention Office".

Unfortunately, Hendley is far from the only parent who lost a child from gun violence.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, last year gun death rates were at a record high.

In 20222, guns remained the leading cause of death for children and teens.

White House Press Secretary Olivia Dalton told Fox 4's Briana Brownlee America is in a gun violence epidemic.

"Well unfortunately this isn't just a national problem. This is a problem that requires us to engage with communities impacted by gun violence all across America," Dalton said. "For the first time there is now going to be dedicated staffing in the White House. devoted toward combating the gun violence in America."

Vice President Kamala Harris will oversee the office that supposed to put in new polices against gun violence.

Hendley said she fully supports anything working to stop this trend, but points to illegal firearms as the key problem.

"How are the kids or people who don't have a gun license getting the guns," Hendley asked. "It got to be better consequences for children and people with no licenses to get a gun. Something has to happen."

About a year ago, Fort Myers Police Cold Case unit picked up Desmond's case. They ask if anyone has any information to contact them or crime stoppers.

Desmond's Grandmother said she wants people to remember other unsolved gun violence cases—where the victims aren't numbers, but names like Craig Truttling, Zachary Blue, Deonte Redding, Darrien Jackson, Malique Brown and so many more.