05:55 GMT +321 November 2019
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    'Heartbreaking' Story of 3 Sons Lost to Rising Gun Violence in the US

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    Gun violence has hit too many families in the US, but few have been affected as tragically as the Newark mother who lost three sons in fatal shootings since 2011.

    At New Year's Eve, Sonia Rogers, mother of five, prepares a funeral for her third, and last, son; Tyquan, killed Monday outside a liquor store.

    "I don't even have a heart right now," she said. "They killed me. They destroyed me."

    The twenty-year-old Tyquan was the youngest child in the Rogers family, who also lost son Antony in 2011 and son Antoine in 2012.

    The youngest Rogers son was the last male hope and support for his mother and two sisters. His mother described that he had demonstrated exceptional patience after his two older brothers were killed.

    "Tyquan was a blessing. He's a sweet loving kid. That's one thing I'm going to miss about him. Every night we're in this house, talking, he's laying across my bed," said Rogers, adding that her son was "no angel."

    Tyquan tried to stay away from friends with a criminal history, but, in November he was arrested for drug possession and resisting arrest, despite having no prison record.

    According to his girlfriend, Iyana Cooper, he had high hopes for a better life. She told journalists Tyquan had attended Essex County College and was dreaming about resuming his education.

    "He had a whole bright future ahead of him that was taken away," Cooper said. "Tyquan was the most loving and caring person you could ever meet and I was glad that he walked into my life."

    On Tuesday, a longtime friend of the Rogers family, city Mayor Ras Baraka, visited Sonia to express his condolences.

    Baraka called the losses "heartbreaking" during an address to the City Council later in the day. He called for council members to take new public safety measures to end violent crime.

    "We have to make sure the community is safe. We're doing everything we have in our power so that (other people) don't have to experience what this mother has," he stated.

    The grieving mother thanked the mayor and those offering her support, but strongly criticized those who keep silent and do nothing, faced with appalling continuous gun violence in the US that takes tens of thousands of lives annually.

    She explained that she did not feel empowered to speak out after two of her sons were killed, but now she feels that it's time to unburden her heart.

    "I don't blame my mayor. I blame the people that live here. I blame myself for not saying nothing when it happened the first time. Maybe I would have been a parent that made a difference," she said.

    "The first time I took it, I chalked it up. The second time, I ate it. This time, what do you want me to do?…I'm mad, and more so than anything I'm hurt," Rogers said.

    Prior to the President Obama's upcoming January 12 State of the Union address, he will reportedly initiate the requirement of small-scale gun retailers to be licensed, therefore simultaneously requiring increased background checks for those intending to purchase a gun. The president will also implement tighter rules for reporting lost or stolen guns.


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    gun violence, shootings, gun control, New Jersey, Newark
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