OAKLAND -- The victim's name was Christopher LaVell Jones, and on New Year's Eve 2010 he became Oakland's 95th and last homicide victim of the year.
But to his family he was a 17-year-old senior at the East Oakland School of the Arts, a churchgoer and promising musician heading to college.
His mother, Brenda Grisham, said she forgave the men who killed her son and narrowly missed her daughter, Deshonda Gipson, and 5-month old granddaughter in front of her eyes nearly three years ago.
However, the attack did make an activist out of the Oakland native.
On Tuesday, Grisham and Their Lives Matter -- an organization she founded for families of victims like her -- will travel to the nation's capitol to represent California at the National Vigil for All Victims of Gun Violence.
A vigil scheduled for Thursday at the Washington National Cathedral will nearly coincide with the anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, where a gunman killed 20 students and six educators in Newtown, Conn.
The Newtown Foundation organized the event to remember what the organization said are 30,000 people in the United States who have died from gunshot since Dec. 14, 2012, the day of the mass shooting at the school.
Grisham's group plans to meet Wednesday with Capitol Hill lawmakers including U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell, a former prosecutor in the Alameda County District Attorney's office who now represents California's 15th Congressional District. The district includes Hayward, Fremont, Dublin and several other East Bay cities.
The group wants to discuss legislation that would require background checks for anyone trying to buy a firearm from a federally licensed dealer. The NRA has fiercely opposed the proposed gun-control law, the Universal Background Check, which stalled in Congress.
Grisham, an operations coordinator for a Fremont-based medical device company, said, "You have to start somewhere."
Police have never charged anyone with the Jones' killing. He was slain at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 31, 2010, outside the family's home near the Eastmont Town Center.
Jones, his sister and the others had eaten dinner and were on their way to see the father of the 5-month-old grandchild. Police said at the time there was no reason for the ambush. Jones may have been mistaken for the wrong person. Gipson still has two bullets in her foot.
"I forgave them because they weren't trying to kill him," Grisham said.
Their Lives Matter has also been working with Mayor Jean Quan's office, the District Attorney's office and the Oakland Police Department. Now the DA's office and OPD meet weekly to review open homicide cases. In addition, Their Lives Matter has pressed for OPD to improve the bureaucratic process the family of victims has to navigate after a homicide, a bureaucracy that can be a nightmare for parents and spouses still in shock.
"It makes the officers want to do more," Grisham said. "because the communication is a whole lot better."
For more information on the group or to donate, go to www.christopherlavelljonesfoundationinc.org or www.theirlivesmatter.com. For more information about the vigil, go to www.newtownaction.org/newtown-foundation.