NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — A Newport News woman who works to keep at-risk kids off the streets is suffering the loss of her own grandson to gun violence.
Gloria Smith said her grandson was raised well. She raised him herself in Hampton, but admits Brandon followed the wrong crowd and got killed because of it.
Brandon Dudley was in an apartment in the East End of Newport News when someone shot through a window. Several bullets took his life and a piece of his grandmother’s heart.
“I want to find out why and who did it,” Smith told WAVY.com.
As the Community Director at Newport Harbor Apartments, Smith’s goal every day is to save children from this kind of violence. But because she couldn’t save Brandon, she can no longer serve the community the way she wants to.
“Sometimes, I’m looking at young men who are walking past my office, and I’m thinking to myself, ‘I wonder if that was the one?’ Or when I’m riding through Newport News, 36th Street and the areas where they hang out, I’m thinking, ‘I wonder if they know?'”
She’s convinced someone knows who took Brandon from her and his one-year-old son. Smith said the baby is the reason Brandon was trying to break away from the bad influences he’d been following. He didn’t separate himself from the crowd soon enough, though.
Smith hopes someone will go to police with information about Brandon’s killer, but believes she may hear something first.
“I have people in gangs that will come and tell me things, and that’s how I know what’s going on in the community,” she said.
Either way, she just can’t rest until she knows.
Another man, a friend of Brandon’s, was also shot that night. He survived. Newport News police have not made any arrests related to this shooting.