When my cousin was gunned down, I died too

Posted on 12. May, 2017 by in at risk youth, blog, Christian school in Santa Monica, News

By Jordan Sheppard, LCA sophomore

Santyone Moore was killed in an ambush hooting in 2015. When he died that day, I did too.

Santyone was my cousin, but because of the age difference, he acted more like a father figure.

Santyone was in his late 20s when I was in middle school. He would always come by to see if I was okay. He gave me money and taught me how to defend myself against bullies and street thugs. He took me out to eat.

He was a Christian just like me. And I admired the Heaven out of him.

He was there for me on the streets of the Pico Corridor, a poor section of Santa Monica. When I didn’t want to go to church, he was very straightforward: “Get up and go!” he told me. “God always has a plan for you.”

Santyon was involved in church, not in gangs. He was out with some friends going to Jack in the Box, when some old rivals, humiliated by a previous loss in a fist fight, came for revenge. Santyone was shot in the head and died on a  Los Angeles sidewalk at 3:00 a.m. before paramedics could race to the scene. Two friends were also shot and injured. One girl in the car managed to escape unscathed. One of the perpetrators was apprehended and is currently in prison, and two more remain at large, my mom tells me.

When they told me what happened, I couldn’t believe the news. I didn’t know what to think. He was more than a cousin. He was my hero, my older brother, my father figure.

Five hundred people came to his funeral. He was that well-liked and respected in the community. Even rivals from opposing gangs attending the proceedings to pay their last respects.

How could God — if there was one — let this happen?

I became rebellious towards my mom. I lacked motivation to study. I started using cuss words. I dropped off the map as far as church attendance goes. As for prayer and Bible-reading, it was the end.

I didn’t believe in God.

I was attending Lighthouse at the time. My friends tried to encourage me and restore my faith to no avail. My mom wanted me at a Christian school. I wasn’t as enthusiastic, but I got used to it.

After a year, something happened to heal the pain and jog me out of my atheism.

I had a dream of God and Santyone.

“Your cousin is safe here in heaven,” God told me. “Here he is safe from any harm and I understand how you feel. You should let your mom talk to you about Me because I have many blessing for you. All you have to do is let yourself come join the Kingdom of God.”

My cousin spoke.

“I am here and I love you,” Santyone told me. “I want you to go back to your friends and mom and apologize and take the blessings that they have for you. Your mother is scared and she doesn’t know what to do. You must be the man of the house and help her out. Do it for me. I will talk to you later.”

I cried with joy.

I told my mom, Monica, who was overjoyed.

I started going back to church and improving my attitude in school.

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