Mothers turn grief into action, form support group for parents of gun violence victims

Conner Dassa-Holland and Adriel Webb—both 18-year-olds shot and killed in Seattle just two months apart in 2020.

Surveillance video captured the sounds of gunfire that took Conner's life in front of his home on Mother's Day. His killer has never been caught.

"Living in the community that we live in, it’s like, ‘Who is it?’" said Alicia Dassa-Holland, Conner's mother.

The suspect who murdered Adriel at a gas station at 23rd and Cherry is also unknown. The future Highline College student was shot 11 times.

"I am at times saddened and angered by the fact that the murderer of my son is still out on the streets, because he can still hurt someone else," said Shalonie Barnett, Adriel's mother.

Now, Barnett and Dassa-Holland are turning their grief into passion. This year, the two friends co-founded the first Parents of Murdered Children (POMC) chapter in Washington State.

"We want the parents that are here in Washington State that suffer from the loss of murdered children to know that they aren’t alone," said Barnett.

"Whether it’s through our Mothers impacted by gun violence group or whether its through our personal relationships or putting this chapter together, I think the thing that I found the most healing is seeing the people that we are around who are in the same situation," said Dassa-Holland. 

It's a sisterhood with six members so far.

They have big plans. POMC is already working with the City of Seattle on a gap analysis of what services are needed for families of murder victims. 

"What we know from our personal experience is resources are few and far between. They are not easy to find and when you do find them, the waiting lists are so long that it can be really off-putting," said Dassa-Holland. 

They've created a pamphlet to be handed out by detectives and social workers at Harborview Medical Center. It includes information they didn't have on resources, financial support and counseling.

"We just don’t want anyone to feel how we felt ever again," said Barnett.

The goal is to eventually put the information online for every community statewide.

ALSO READ: 'We feel like the victims now'; Parents outraged over lack of progress investigating son’s murder

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"I am hopeful, because I am part of a group that will bring change," said Barnett.

Change to uplift other families like theirs and support each other as they wait for justice.

"As positive of a light as we are taking this, I mean, there are definite days of anger and sadness," said Dassa-Holland.

If you have any information to help Seattle Police identify the killers in either case, please submit an anonymous tip to Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound through the P3 Tips App or at or by calling 1-800-222-8477. It is anonymous.