When gun violence hits close to home

Mark Jones was in a workshop at Big Tent when he got a text message asking him to call back right away. He was in the midst of a workshop on “Where are the Young People in the Church?” so he responded that he couldn’t call back.

“The text I got back said Bijan has been shot and they don’t think he’s going to make it.”

Mark Jones is pastor of Community United Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles, a block and a half south of where the now infamous attack on Reginald Denny took place in 1992 at the corner of Florence and Normandy.

Bijan Shoushatri was 18 years old when the gunshot wounds of that random drive-by shooting took his life. He was the head acolyte at his church, the captain of the football team, and so involved with becoming a fire fighter that at his funeral a certificate designating him as a fire fighter was presented by the city of Los Angeles.

“Bijan was also my nephew.”

Jones shared his story with Committee 09 on Social Justice Issues as they considered three overtures related to issues of gun violence. The committee combined these three overtures related to gun violence and regulating ammunition and approved the amended motion to be taken to the assembly.

Erin DuniganErin Dunigan is a freelance writer, photographer, and pastor who lives in a small coastal community in Baja California, Mexico when she is not following her wanderlust out into the world.

“The thing is, these issues are not as far away as we think – and then all of a sudden they take on a different gravity for us,” said Jones.