COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL)— One Columbus mother lost her son to gun violence in August of 2022. Now her mission is to support other families affected by gun violence and increase awareness among the community.

Rochelle Johnson’s oldest son, Keith Johnson, was shot and killed on Aug. 16, 2022. He was 19 years old.

“He was a great boy, he just graduated,” Johnson said. “I love my baby, I miss him.”

Two months after Keith was killed, Johnson started reaching out to other mothers in the tri-city who have lost their loved ones.

“That’s the healing process for me to reach out to others, and it helps me,” Rochelle said. “It keeps me going, to hear somebody else’s story or to notice someone else feel exactly what I feel.”

One of the mothers she reached out to lost her only son to gun violence in 2020.

“He was getting out the car, he went to go help somebody on the side of the road,” Sonia Hugley said. “Somebody just started shooting out of the bushes, out of nowhere.”

Dontaye Whittaker was only 35 years old when he was shot and killed while trying to help a stranger. Two of Hugley’s nephews were also killed that same year. Jeremy and Dominique Wisdom were both shot and killed in two separate shootings in 2020.

“[Rochelle] started reaching out to me, and it’s a healing process for both of us,” Hugley said. “I’ve been reaching out back and forth with her and asking, ‘whatever you need me to do, I’m here for you,’ because at the end of the day we all have to come together.”

Johnson hopes the entire community will come together this upcoming June. She is organizing a Gun Violence Awareness Parade for June 3. She invites everyone in the community to attend, even if they have not been directly impacted by gun violence.

 “We need support. I want to let them know that it’s not just me that this affects the whole community, everyone,” Johnson said. “I just want everybody to come together and try to stop this kind of violence in some type of way.”

To family members that have lost someone, this could be another step in the healing process.

“We want to get our message out there more so being able to march and everything, we’ve always talked about it,” brother of Jeremy and Dominique Wisdom Keontaye Williams said. “To be able to be a part of something like this, to march and to show people to bring that awareness, which also shows that we’re going to also be a part of the solution.”

After the parade, Johnson invites all mothers who have lost their children to be a part of a ‘healing circle.’ There she hopes to build a support system for all who have lost their children from gun violence.

The Save Our Children Gun Violence Awareness Parade will start at 10 a.m. June 3 on the 13th street bridge and end at Woodruff Riverfront Park around 12:30.

Those interested in attending or volunteering for this event are asked to contact Rochelle Johnson.

Previous Reports

Aug. 15, 2022: Columbus: 19-year-old dies after shooting on Eddy Dr. | WRBL

Oct. 4, 2021: $2,500 reward being offered for arrest in 2020 Phenix City murder (

April 23, 2021: Arrest made in November murder at Torch Hill Road and Matthews Street | WRBL

April 5, 2021: Man wanted in deadly Columbus shooting dies following traffic crash | WRBL

Dec. 2, 2020: “No, not again.” Man reacts to losing second brother to a Columbus homicide | WRBL

Nov. 3, 2020: Man shot and killed just days before his birthday on Torch Hill Rd. in Columbus | WRBL

April 3, 2020: Overnight shooting in Columbus claims 12th homicide victim of 2020 | WRBL