‘It’s an undescribable pain’: Wichita mom shares impact of gun violence on her family


WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – We are coming to the end of National Gun Violence Awareness week but that does not mean the issue has been solved.

One Wichita woman has felt the pain first-hand after losing her son less than two years ago.

“It’s an undescribable pain,” said Keena Charles. “You can’t describe the loss the hole that you feel.”

Charles still remembers the moment she was woken up on the early morning hours of December 2, 2017.

“I received a knock on my door from WPD saying my son had been in an accident,” she said.

At the hospital, she received devastating news about her son Semaj Chambers.

“The doctor came and said our son had been shot and that he did not survive,” said Charles.

Authorities said the shooting happened some time after a confrontation.

Charles’ family is not the only one that has to deal with this type of tragedy.

On Sunday, the Wichita chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America brought together survivors as well as families of victims for the national Wear Orange event.

“Our purpose is to stand up and speak out to make people aware,” said Shannon Halbur, the local lead for the Wichita chapter. “We can stop it and we know how to pass it with the passage of sensible gun laws.”

And, that is what Halbur hopes can prevent other families from dealing with the same loss Charles’ has.

“The best we can do is honor her son with action and working every day to get the laws changed in Kansas,” said Halbur.

While Charles waits for justice in her son’s killing, she has taken steps to continue her son’s legacy and passion for music.

So, Charles and her sister Lisa Johnson created Winning Out Loud.

“It is for people with intellectual, developmental disabilities where they can come enjoy themselves but also music and performing arts,” said Charles.

Chambers may not physically be there to sing front and center like he used to, but his presence can be felt in every photo, and every note played at Winning Out Loud.

The Sedgwick County DA’s office says the juvenile who shot Chambers has been charged.

“I love you,” said Charles as a message to her son. “I miss you. I’m keeping your dream alive.”

The state filed paperwork to have him tried as an adult.

The hearing on that motion has not happened yet.

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