Youngstown mother offers prayer to those who killed son

By John W. Goodwin Jr.


Irene Adkins has spent the last several days making funeral arrangements for her 16-year-old son, but she still offers forgiveness, prayer and advice to the individuals who violently took his life.

Irene has had little time to stop and think or relax since receiving word that her son Brandon Adkins, 16, was shot and killed on South Avenue late Saturday night.

She has spent the bulk of her time making arrangements, working with family members, and dealing with the heavy news coverage of her son’s death.

Brandon Adkins, of 372 E. Philadelphia Ave., was found by police gunned down in the driveway of a South Avenue house, surrounded by a large crowd. The Mahoning County coroner, after an autopsy, said Brandon had been shot in the back and abdomen. He was pronounced dead by paramedics.

Irene, with a cracking voice and masking grief, offered a prayer to those responsible for shooting her son.

“God bless you. I forgive you, and God forgives you for you know not what you have done. May God have mercy upon your souls,” she said Tuesday afternoon.

Irene said she has been speaking with various people and has a good idea who is responsible for killing her son, a Chaney High School sophomore. She believes they are teens. She also said police have been given several tips and are following those leads.

The police department’s Capt. Rod Foley has said police believe a previous altercation may have led to the shooting. He would not say what that altercation involved, but said police are looking into it and hope to make an arrest in the near future.

For Irene, an arrest would be a good thing, but it will not end the pain associated with losing her son. She said Brandon was a bright star in his family and in the community.

“My son had the biggest heart. He was the most-giving person and the heart of the family as well as the heart of this neighborhood,” she said.

Jajuan Adkins-Holland is not a relative of the Adkins family, but said Brandon was like a cousin, and he wants the best for the family in the wake of the tragedy.

“I miss him, and I hope his mother can find peace,” he said.

Irene asks that those responsible for shooting her son to stop the violence and put down the guns before they suffer the same tragic fate.

She said the young people have to understand that they cannot live a violent lifestyle and not expect to meet a violent end.

“That is just the way it is; what goes around comes around,” she said.