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KIM ODOM, MOTHER OF STEVEN ODOM

The devastation of losing Steven seems like it wipes so much stuff away, and I have to really dig to remember him as the jolly kid that he was. It's hard to think of him in those happy times, even though I try. The loss of him and his not being here just seems to overshadow everything else. I guess I enjoy looking at pictures where he's just enjoying being.

He loved to eat, so he always made sure he took a trip to the refrigerator when he got home from school. He enjoyed his neighborhood friends, and he had such a passion for basketball. Steven was heavyset, but he didn't let that stop him — he could move that ball. I have a lot of memories of him playing ball and playing the drums at different church functions.

On the day that Steven was killed, we heard a loud bang-bang-bang-bang outside. I realized Steven was outside, and started panicking. We ran to the window, and saw a basketball rolling down the street. All I could see was that this person was laying on the ground. And I just stood there because the clothes that this person has on were familiar to me.

Then I was just standing there, yelling, "I think it's Steven, I think it's Steven, I think it's Steven." I was really just in shock, standing over my son. I fell to the ground, my husband Ronnie fell to the ground, and they removed us and sat us on a porch somewhere. From there I don't know what happened — I spaced out.

In January, the Timilty [Middle School] had an event for Martin Luther King, and their theme was "buddy up for peace." They asked me and my husband to speak there, and after we spoke, his teacher told us that the janitor had cleaned out Steven's locker and found his journals. I thank God that that janitor realized how important those journals would be. At that time I needed to hear his voice.

In that journal he talked about how there's so much crime and gangs in Boston that it's making it a terrible place to live. He says that he's sick and tired of Boston, and how it's a shame that people get shot and killed every day. But he also said that he watched a peace video, and he believed the community should stop the violence and start peace. That was Steven leaving his legacy as a peacemaker.

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