Grieving Mother, Community Members Call for End to Violence in Alexandria

For weeks, Patrice Hall has been living a nightmare.

It began on June 8, when police Kicked in her apartment door to execute a search warrant. It got unimaginably worse early Saturday: Her youngest son, Saquan Hall, was shot to death.

"I can't even bring myself to go identify him, to make funeral arrangements," Patrice Hall said. "I can't do that."

Saquan Hall, 23, was gunned down in an Alexandria, Virginia neighborhood where four men have been killed within one year. Three weeks before Saquan was killed, another young man, Pierre Clark, was shot to death in broad daylight.

Patrice Hall said police had told her that her son was a suspect in Clark's death. And though Saquan was never charged, she believes that he was targeted for retaliation.

"The way they handled it in coming here in my home and all that, word got out and it put Saquan in harm's way," she said. "They had no proof that Saquan had shot Pierre."

Police said they were unable to directly respond to Patrice Hall's allegations because both homicides are active, ongoing investigations. They added that they executed more than one search warrant in connection with Pierre Clark's death.

Arrests have been made in the other two murders that took place in this neighborhood.

Meanwhile, Patrice Hall says she hopes her son's death will be the last in her Alexandria neighborhood.

"With Saquan's death it will bring so any other people to the realization of just what's happening in our world," she said. "At some point in time these young people have to wake up. Life is worth living."

And residents in Alexandria's West Old Town are calling on city leaders to take action.

"It's time for the mayor and the council to really stand up and decry the homicides in a way they haven't. Say enough is enough," said Leslie Zupan of the West Old Town Citizens' Association. 

Since the first of the four homicides last July, Zupan has been calling for more community policing and more officers on foot patrol.

Another neighbor who worked closely with police decades ago, when crime Was even worse, says part of the solution rests with residents.

"Anyone who has information, in whatever format they are comfortable presenting it, please do," said Sarah Becker, a West Old Town resident. "Because somewhere a mother is grieving."

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