He’s dead. My brother is dead because he wore a yellow bandanna. The police officer shot him because he thought he was a member of the Amarillos. I saw it with my own eyes. I saw when it happened. I saw him shoot my brother in cold blood even though he told him that he wasn’t a gang member.
The police officer didn’t believe him. He told him to drop to the ground. My brother tried to tell him that he wasn’t a gang member and when he took a step forward, he was shot. I watched him drop to ground. I screamed as the officer shot him three more times.
I ran to my brother and he was lying there, still. He was dead. I could see the blood like a pool spreading under him on the sidewalk. I cradled him in my arms, wailing. The pain was excruciating and the guilt. The guilt is worse than the pain. It was my fault. It was I who encouraged him to wear it after my boyfriend advised me not to. “He could be targeted by a rival gang.”
“He’ll be fine,” I said, dismissively. “God will protect him.”
The next day, my brother was waiting for me on the sidewalk when he was shot not by a gang member but by a police officer.
I clung to him, blinded by tears and covered in his blood. “Where were You, God?” I wailed. “Why didn’t you protect him?”
Months have passed since that horrible incident. The police officer has been convicted. And that’s because someone had taped the interaction. My hatred for the officer has abated. I’m not angry with God anymore.
I visit my brother’s grave every Sunday. It was just him and me. Our father died before he was born and our mother died a couple of years ago. I took care of him–saw him through school. He was going to start university in September. I’ll never forgive myself. If I only had listened to my boyfriend about the bandanna, my brother would still be alive. I will have to live with this guilt and regret for the rest of my life.