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Kristy Burrus

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A year ago Aug. 25, my daughter Krissia Ansara Henderson Burrus was tragically shot and fatally wounded by a bullet intended for her passenger.

She was traveling on Hull Street headed toward Midlothian and was at the intersection of Hull and Belt. At that time the vehicle to the side of her identified the passenger she was with, one that she knew for 11 days, and opened fire. Twenty-six shots total were fired, my daughter was struck twice. Her passenger was shot five times but survived. She lost control of her vehicle and came up on the curb and hit the opposite side of this tree.

She lost her life to a gang-related affiliation. Those are the facts.

The four people who were shooting at my child, the day they saw on the news they killed somebody their life changed. They now have direct involvement. ... Now they are forced to look over their shoulder. 

I worked with Mayor Stoney and he granted me temporary placement of this memorial stone. My daughter was cremated, so she does not rest anywhere. She is with me and forever will be, on the mantel of my home. I felt it fitting to create something with a city view that memorializes her life.

I'm prayerful the Virginia Union University where she was studying criminal justice will find a permanent home for this stone on their property. We have to do something as a nation, we have to be more public how we memorialize the ones that have lost their lives.

The shirt that I have on is the vehicle she was in. I purchased this vehicle for her on Aug. 13, so this is the last photo I have taken of my daughter. She was shot Aug. 25, so that is 11 days after she owned this vehicle. When she struck this tree, it totaled the vehicle because of the impact. All I want to know is did my child suffer? I still don't have the answer, but I suffer.

I shouldn't have to, my daughter didn't have affiliation with the purpose of the shooting. She was driving her vehicle to the movies. She was one week shy of checking into the dorm at Virginia Union to continue her studies in criminal justice.

So I have a foundation that gives scholarships twice a year to Virginia Union students. I will be giving one out next month to a cheerleader and [in November] to a criminal justice discipline student. Both of those are selected by the dean of the criminal justice studies or the coach of the cheerleading team and given out to honor my daughter through her foundation by me. 

We need gun reform but we also need behavioral changes so that we begin to understand it's OK to be different, we begin to value disagreements. We may disagree and we may not all like each other and that's OK.

We own the right to be safe in our homes, we own the right to go to the movies, a desire to go to work, right to go to church when we must just for our spiritual development. What is hindering us from that freedom is the crime that is plaguing our nation and we've got to do something to stop it.

If my daughter's heartbeat has to stop, I have to accept that because I cannot change what has happened to her, I cannot bring her back. But through my fight for each and every one of you I can make her live. Let her story be one that is filled with education and awareness. 

My suffering will not be in vain. I will not be quiet. I will not be silenced. — as told to Scott Elmquist

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