DETROIT (WXYZ) - As a Detroit girl born and raised in the city, some stories we do here on Action News hit me a little differently than most people.
The ones that strike deepest are shootings involving children. One happened a few weeks ago on Detroit’s northeast side.
Two kids and their dads were wounded when suspected gang members or drug dealers got into a gunfight, spraying the street with bullets.
This happened in broad daylight in a normally peaceful neighborhood.
But the story you rarely see on TV is what happens now - after the police and the media are long gone.
How do families and young children cope with all of this?
So, I went back to the neighborhood to find out what happens, after the bullets.
The 14000 block of Strathmoor on the city's northwest side is normally tranquil, lawns well manicured and neighbors look out for one another.
Demond Reeves was only 22 when he moved into the lot he says he’s seen:
“Every child that over here before all my kids.”
He says they’ve all called him up now.
Reeves moved here from Kansas City 20 years ago. He and his wife, Carol, fell in love and bought their house.
Now at 42, this father of nine is in shock.
“I had just walked to my side door,” he says. “And I heard two pops, pops. And he ran in and said, ‘Dad, I’m burnin.’”
Little Jeremiah, who is only four, had his chest blasted with bullet fragments on Saturday, May 24 - when a blaze of gunfire rang out.
“I had little Jeremiah in my arms, like this, and when I raised up, that’s when pew,” is how Reeves describes his own injury to the back of his neck.
Outside, two men involved in the shooting had fallen in their backyard, bleeding from getting hit multiple times.
“It was like a nightmare, says Reeves. “But all I ask was ‘God, you know, if I’m about to go, let me get my children.’”
Nearly a week later, Reeves has eight stitches in his neck, but the wounds are beginning to heal. But the trauma remains.
Jeremiah shows me the mark on his chest, but still clings to his parents when he hears a loud noise.
But the little 3-year-old who, Xavier, who was not injured, is traumatized so badly he can’t hold his urine.
“My son told me he had to change him seven times,” says his mother, Carol. “He is fully potty trained. He’s never done that before and it’s usually when there is a loud noise outside.”
And their 11-year-old?
“Angel, who actually received the bullet, she’s terrified to walk home from school anymore, Carol says. “She just barely started coming back outside to play.”
This Detroit block is tight. Despite the shootings, we saw many neighbors on their porches and walking down the streets.
Many of these neighbors, fed up, had called police to report the squatters who took over the house where that violence jumped off.
We’re told the guys who allegedly took part in this shooting we’re squatting in the home. Mister Reeves tells us that, by the time he went to the hospital, the house went up in flames.
“I love the block,” says Reeves. “I love everybody over here. It won’t make me leave Detroit. But guys, it’s gonna be in Detroit, any other city you go to, it’s gonna be the same old, same old.”
“I hope that the perpetrators are caught, brought to justice” says Carol.
While they hope and pray for justice, this father, who is devoted to his Catholic faith, is not bitter.
“I would forgive them,” he says. “I would just, I would like to see all these young guys be taught the right way, because, to them, I can see they don’t have that guidance, you know. They a little lost.”
After all of that – forgiveness. And hopefully they will be listening and get some help.
This family is real something special, so we're going to get them the help the best we can, that includes a psychologist to talk to the kids and we’ll be talking to the city and police about that house on the block.