By: Giavonni Nickson
David Watson, the brother of non-violence activist Michael Watson died in a homicide late Sunday, September 1st, according to the Lake County coroner.
26-year-old David Watson, of Gary, suffered multiple gunshot wounds in the 4300 block of East 10th Avenue, less than a mile from his home in the 5400 block. He was taken to the Methodist Hospital Northlake Campus, where the coroner pronounced him dead at 10:51 p.m.
For Watson’s mother, losing a child is the most painful thing she will ever face. Almost two years ago her son was killed and now, while the wound from losing one son is left unhealed she must deal with the tragic death of another son, David Watson.
Watson’s brother, Micheal Watson is searching for ways to cope with the recent deaths of his two younger brothers.
“It’s a rollercoaster ride right now. I’m still trying to process the first loss that wasn’t even two years ago. This on top of it is devastating,” said Michael Watson. “It’s like building a house and being at a point when it’s almost finished then another storm comes and tears everything down. We are just trying to put the pieces back together again. Now there are more pieces to put together and we don’t know where to start.”
Five years ago, Michael Watson stepped out of the street life into the pulpit as a gospel preacher. He was shot 9 times, incarcerated, and hit by a drunk driver before deciding to turn his life around.
Now known as “Butta The Preacher”, Watson fights and advocates against the same street violence that caused the death of his two brothers. Every year at West Side Academy Michael Watson and Pastor Dr. Eric Boone of Tree of Life MBC give a stop the violence concert for their birthday that brings out nearly 1,000 people. The concert brings awareness to gun violence, bullying, and saying no to drugs. Michael Watson’s goal is to save as many young people as possible from the streets.
Watson admits, it is not always easy to speak out as an advocate while he carries the pain of his own brothers murders.
“It’s like a smack in the face when you try to go out and bring awareness to be impactful. I try to impact those around me and it hurt to lose the ones closest to me. It hurts when I am out here trying to help people change lives, then my own brother gets struck down by gun violence.”
Watson remembers his brothers great spirit and describes him as a beacon of light.
“He had a love for God and took it with him every place he would go. He was big on people being saved,” said Watson about his deceased brother David Watson. “He was a preacher of the gospel and started his ministry at 16years old. I will miss his passion for ministry.”
David Watson was a father of a 6 year old son.
Watson is hopeful that the Gary Police Depart (GPD) investigation will bring the responsible party to justice for his brothers murder. He said that he is giving the GPD the benefit of the doubt in spite of some levels of mistrust.
“The community doesn’t know what to do, they can barely trust the police and ministers and preachers, we have a stigma on us about certain things. I just want to build trust within the people and be an advocate,” said Watson.
Michael Watson believes that the death of his brother will fuel his ministry making him more effective in transforming lives.
“I believe now that my testimony is even more impactful because I have experience with loss. I’m not just speaking from the outside looking in. I’m inside speaking out. I’m telling them that I’ve been a victim myself of gun violence. If you’ve been through it and speak about it you can reach more people because you know what they go through. They gravitate to my story because I can relate.”
Watson vows to continue working to reduce gun violence in Gary in honor of his slain brothers.
“Anytime someone is doing the type of work that I do, there will be attacks that come your way to throw you off the course and make you shut up but I won’t. I will keep doing what I have to do. I will come back and be more aggressive now,” said Watson.
Giavonni is a passionate freelance writer native of Gary IN. She covers business, politics, and community schools for the Chicago/Gary Crusader.