Mother of Teen Boy Who Survived a Random Shooting Says Everyone's Lives Were 'Shattered'
DeAndra Dycus says her family's lives have been shattered from a single bullet that struck her son six years ago
DeAndre Knox was 13 years old when multiple shots were fired at a party he was attending in Indianapolis in 2014. One of the bullets struck him in the back of the head.
People always say he’s lucky to have survived, but his mother, DeAndra Dycus, says she’s not sure her son thinks so.
“My son is now 19 years old and lives in a 24-hour-care facility,” she says. “The dreams I had for him were endless. With his GPA and athletic ability, I thought, ‘This kid is going to go far.’ And for someone to snatch that away leaves a permanent wound in your heart.”
Last month, six gun-violence survivors from around the country gathered together for a roundtable discussion in New York City to talk about the shootings that forever altered their world and made them part of a club that no one wants to join.
“It’s so important to hear these stories because for every one of them, for every statistic, that’s a family shattered,” says Sara Macaluso, whose father died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in 1992.
PEOPLE partnered with the nonprofit advocacy organization Everytown for Gun Safety for the discussion, moderated by actress and advocate Julianne Moore, ahead of National Gun Violence Survivors Week, which kicked off Saturday and continues through the week.
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“I’m so incredibly moved by them and struck by their bravery,” Moore tells PEOPLE. “What’s so brave and so amazing about these activists and survivors is that they are willing to change the culture, to change legislation, to make sure it doesn’t happen to another individual.”
Dycus struggles with the ripple effect from that shooting six years ago. It continues to impact her life and those closest to her, she says.
“We’re all here because of the ramifications of a bullet,” she says, “and how it shatters our lives.”