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Mrs. Wheeler raised six children, owns her house in Anacostia, and works in food services at Georgetown University. From her viewpoint, Chicquelo was left to a dangerous environment at a critical time in his life. “Bullets went through that apartment he was living in,” she said. “They needed to get out of there.”

She’s also worried about her daughter, LaVonne, who had Chicquelo when she was just a child herself, and who hasn’t had a stable job in years. LaVonne is still distraught over Chicquelo’s death, and these days she spends most of her time in her apartment, trying to avoid the neighborhood she has lived in for close to nine years.

Now Chicquelo’s little brother, Javon, is in trouble, too, with a custody order out on him for failure to appear in juvenile court to answer to a drug charge. Javon just turned 18. “They’re not even trying to find him,” Mrs. Wheeler said. “They’re just waiting for him to do something, then they’ll lock him up, too.”

LaVonne Abney said she has been unable to get Javon to turn himself in. “I try to tell him that something’s got to give. I’m not trying to lose another child to the streets.”