Gun violence among teenagers: The 17-year-old from Houston was shot before a birthday party, his mother spoke out

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) – A day after her 17-year-old son was shot dead outside a birthday party, his devastated mother spoke out.

“That was my baby. My world, I give him the whole world,” Desiree Stewart said through her tears. “They took something from me that I could never get back.”

Her son, Robert “Duke” Lee, was among a group of teenagers who attended a 16-year-old girl’s birthday party on Saturday night.

Around 11:30 p.m. after the party, gunshots rang out in the parking lot near Highway 288 and the South Beltway East.

Of the four teenagers shot, he is the only one who did not survive.

“These are all his little friends,” Stewart said. “They took pictures and just started shooting.”

Stewart met up with ABC13, half a dozen of Duke’s friends, and his two surviving siblings.

Harris County Sheriff’s Detectives say it is clear from surveillance video and their investigation that several teens had guns and were shooting at each other.

The motive for the shooting is unclear. Other teenagers say they had to run when they heard gunshots.

Duke was close to his 7-year-old sister, Melanie. Numerous Instagram photos show the older brother crushing on his little sister. The two spoke on the phone Saturday afternoon after Melanie went to the Houston rodeo and before Duke went to the party.

“She said I need to call my brother. She called him. He said, ‘Take care of my sister, I’m going out mom. He said, ‘I love you mom,'” Stewart said.

This story is well known to Calandrian Kemp, who has worked to improve gun safety in Texas for years.

“(Guns have always been) accessible. I don’t think it’s harder for anyone to get anything,” Kemp said.

Kemp and her husband lost their son to gun violence nine years ago. She has been a gun safety activist ever since.

Recent changes in Texas gun laws have made guns more accessible to teenagers, Kemp says. Texas does not require training or licenses to own a firearm.

“You can get a gun with no background or something. It just gave teenagers the green light, ‘Oh, I can get a gun, and I can get more, and I can give it to my friends,’ and you all have guns,” Kemp said.

Kemp says she wants to reach out to Duke’s mother and any other mother who may have lost a child to gun violence. Your organization can be reached by email.

Follow Miya Shay on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

SEE ORIGINAL REPORT: 17-year-old shot dead before birthday party and arrested over previous aggravated robbery, MPs say

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Dais Johnston

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