Woman who lost brother to gun violence helps other victims
A woman loses her brother to gun violence more than 20 years ago and his killer was never found.
Deleah Sharp's brother, 22-year-old Dean Samuel, was shot and killed at a July 4 party in Pontiac 20 years ago. His killer was never found.
Now she is helping other victims of violent crime pick up the pieces.
"If it weren't for her helping me out, it would be hard," said Edward Northern.
On this day one year ago, an Oakland County mother of seven was shot and killed when seven children in Pontiac learn they will never see their mother again.
The father of her children Edward Northern remembers the smiling face of 32-year-old Kenyetta Barnes, murdered last April. Her then-boyfriend is set to stand trial next month. Police say Akiva McCray shot and killed Barnes during an argument and injured little Ahmiyah -- then, just 2 years old.
The story of loss is all too familiar to Deleah Sharp.
"When (my brother) passed away his girlfriend at the time was pregnant," she said. "So I have a nephew who is 19 years old and he's never met his father. There are so many more children that are motherless and fatherless due to violence."
Sharp since then has channeled her pain into something positive, creating the Samuel J Dean Identify Your Dream Foundation.
It is helping to supporting three families so far who have lost parents to violence - including the family of Kenyetta Barnes.
Sharp says the foundation offers grief counseling, group therapy, fundraisers and art therapy for children.
"Because they can't really express themselves, especially the 3-year-old, the 4-year-old, we just allow them to have a safe haven."
Planning to celebrate the life of Barnes Thursday while missing her every day, Northern says that each day is a little bit easier with the support he receives from his family and the foundation.
"It's just unexplainable how much help that she gives us," Northern said. "We appreciate it so much, Ms. Deleah."
Now as McCray is charged with Barnes' murder and facing mandatory life in prison, this family slowly begins to heal -with a little bit of help.
If you'd like more information on the Identify Your Dream Foundation CLICK HERE
Sharp is in need of grief counselors and volunteers -- as she's looking to launch a mentoring program. If you would like to donate to the foundation CLICK HERE.