SACRAMENTO -- Surrounded by relatives and supporters, the mother and brother of 16-year-old homicide victim, Zachary Whittington, shared their thoughts during a Tuesday evening news conference outside Liberty Towers Church in Sacramento.
Zachary was shot to death Sunday inside a Carmichael apartment, according to the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department. A 13-year-old has been arrested in the killing.
Zachary's mother, Sherrie Whittington shared the following statement:
"Zachary James was my son. When I had him, I thought parenting would be easy. I thought the world would be right. My life had changed for the better. He was such a blessing and a beautiful baby, and the most precious toddler you'd ever seen. Quite a character. Matter of fact, if you ever met him, you guys would love him. Now here I stand and I must come to grip with the reality that I'm now a part of this club that nobody signed up for. It's called Mothers of Murdered Children. I'm here today as a start for the rest of my life. I will live with guilt. I could've done something more. I could have helped him more. But one thing I will never doubt is my love for him. My son, nobody had the right to choose when he could leave this world. I want to thank the outpouring support from the community, my friends, social media, the phone calls, the texts, the community, the leaders. I'm encouraged by the numbers of organizations here today, bridge-builders, who offer me hope and are willing to hold my hand through this process. I want to thank the media for coming out today and I plan to continue sharing this journey with my son. My son's death will not be the end of this story but the beginning of a new one. I do believe God has a bigger plan for Zachary and my family."
Zachary's brother, George Whittington added these words:
"That was my baby brother and I just want justice for him. It wasn't right. He didn't deserve this. They took my brother. They took my baby's uncle away from them. That's all I have to say. I love you Zachary."
Other speakers included Pastor Terry Schneider, who talked about the importance of community support for the family. Dr. Nicole Clavo, leader of the group Mothers of Murdered Children, shared how everyone can help build safer communities.
"Until we think as one, become as one, and take responsibility for all of those that are around us, children near and far, and think of them as our own, this will continue to happen. And this will not be the last press conference," Clavo said.