NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — There’s a new group in Hampton Roads, but it’s one that no one wants to be a part of.
The Newport News Police Department recently started a homicide support group.
10 On Your Side got a closer look inside the group that just formed in June.
Chief Steve Drew said he wants those affected by homicides to use this resource.
Once a month, the community room at the Newport News Police Department is filled with visitors, all of them united by an unimaginable bond.
“You tell us a little bit about your family, your sons and daughters that aren’t with us now. We get to know them on a first name basis,” Drew said, addressing the group.
The homicide support group is a new resource for those touched by tragedy.
For Sherry Bishop, the gathering has been a huge help in the grieving process.
“It’s a weight off your shoulder,” she said. “I give myself permission to live when I come here.”
Bishop’s son, 24-year-old Eric Witherspoon, was killed in a double shooting last year.
“He was funny. He was a comedian. He loved to make you laugh,” Bishop said. “It’s a lot of support here. People can identify and understand how it feels to lose a loved one.”
The group shares stories of their loved ones. They cry with each other and talk about how they’re feeling.
“That pain never goes away. It hurt,” said Mary Jackson.
Jackson’s son, 27-year-old Raghib Ismail Brooks, also died in a shooting last year. The one-year anniversary of his death is Friday. Jackson said the group has changed her life.
“If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be able to function,” she said. “They the one that took away the pain. They the one that gave me permission to talk about my son. They the ones that let me see that all police are not crooked police. All police are not mean.”
The women tell 10 On Your Side members also support each other outside the group. Although it’s difficult, they want others with similar stories to know you’re not alone.
“When we go in there, we talk about our babies. “We’re a team. We’re here to help each other.”
For the time being, the support group is limited to loved ones of Newport News homicide victims.
The next meeting is scheduled for November 13.
If you’re interested in attending, contact NNPD at 757-247-2500.