Shooting victim's mother has message for other teens

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The mother of a teenage shooting victim in downtown Indianapolis has a message for other boys her son's age.

"I am in pain right now and I don't know if I would ever be out of this pain that I am in right now," said Traci Franklin-Love. "I feel like I am dying. I have lost a part of my soul. That was my child and I brought him into this world and I wanted to protect him and keep him and now something like this has happened and I can't deal with it. I really don't know how I am going to get through it."

Franklin-Love's 17-year-old son, Darnell Franklin, died in an accidental shooting early Sunday. Now, she is trying to save another mother from the same pain and heartache.

"I hope the mothers hear me, I hope the fathers hear me. If they don't want to go through the same situation that I am going through right now, then they will hear me," she said.

Franklin rode with friends last weekend to the JW Marriott parking garage. When another teen in their SUV picked up a loaded gun, it went off, shooting Franklin in the back.

"Please do not play with guns," Franklin-Love told a group of about 75 boys participating in a summer camp with Young Men Incorporated.

The boys listened closely about her urging them to stay away from guns, then held a group prayer for her family.

Young Men Incorporated usually visits deadly crime scenes after the fact for prayer and a reality check on the dangers of getting into trouble. Sixteen-year-old Aaron Wooden says he and the other boys heard Traci's plea loud and clear.

"It's sad, if you think about it, over the years it's young people killing young people," Wooden said.

"Darnell Franklin lost his life and mother is grieving and realize he could have made some better decisions the night he was killed," said Rev. Malichi Walker.

Just to try to keep the young men alive, Darnell's mother told them to consider their own mothers.

"If y'all don't want your mom standing here like I am right now, then listen to what I am saying, because it's not worth it," Franklin-Love said.

"Like she said, it needs to stop. We need to stop hanging around, having guns and going around shooting up each other and it doesn't matter if it was an accident or if it was on purpose. When you go somewhere, you should not have to bring a gun," Wooden said.