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Indy woman praying for end to gun violence takes message to Capitol Hill

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — An Indianapolis woman, who is praying for an end to the gun violence, took her message to the nation’s capital.

Her son, DeAndre Knox, remains paralyzed after he was shot by a stray bullet while attending a birthday party in 2014.

“One shot, one bullet has changed our lives forever,” said DeAndra Yates, the victim’s mother.

Yates is now an advocate for her 15-year-old son. Knox can no longer talk or move on his own and uses a wheelchair.

“When I received the phone call asking me to come to Washington just last Friday,” said Yates. “I was sitting by son’s Dre’s bedside at St. Louis children’s hospital where he was once again fighting for his life.”

Yates stood on the steps of Capitol Hill Wednesday afternoon with a message to congress about gun violence.

“Over and over again Congress has failed those of us who have suffered at the hands of everyday gun violence in our cities,” she said. “Congress, I hope it doesn’t take you becoming familiar with an unfamiliar pain to act on behalf of a dying generation.”

Yates said she was invited to speak alongside Nancy Pelosi and other families pushing for gun control.

“I’m tired of the constant reminder of my son’s shooting every time I hear about a mother whose heart has been broken and forever shattered by gun violence,” she said. “These tears are real, our pain is real.”

The road to recovery for her son Dre Knox has not been an easy one. Yates said he suffered a severe seizure last week and was airlifted to the hospital in critical condition.

“As I sat there, I reminiscence on what life was like before, our lives before Dre’s hopes and dreams were shattered by a bullet,” she said.

So far this year in Indianapolis, police said 246 people have been shot and that number is up compared to 200 last July.

“This is no way to live, not for Dre, not for me, not for the two sisters who lost their sons only hours apart this past Saturday in Indianapolis,” she said. “Not for my friends who hold yearly anniversary vigils to keep the memories of their sons alive.”

Yates said while every day brings on a new challenge, she’s not giving up the fight for change.

“I’ll never forget our last embrace when I told him I loved him, now Dre can’t lift his hands on command to give me a simple hug,” she said. “In spite of the pain, I always say there’s purpose behind it.”

Yates also started a support group called Purpose 4 My Pain to help other families.

For more information on the group, click here.