Patrick McKinley was home with his friends when there was a long, loud honk and blaring music coming from outside of his suburban, middle class Virginia home. McKinley went out to investigate. The person behind the wheel of the honking car was trying to pass a double-parked car; McKinley tried to let the honking driver know that the car was soon to be moved, which it was. The car with the hand on the horn was coming from a wild party being thrown by a teenager left alone for the holiday; there were over 150 kids there, only a few houses away from McKinley’s home. He and his friends were not at this party.
By all accounts, McKinley kept his calm and dealt politely with the honking driver who felt inconvenienced. But things escalated, the two inside the honking car got out and it came to fisticuffs. Chaos ensued, ending with a shooter coming from a neighboring house with a stolen .45 with hollowpoint bullets.
Witnesses say that the McKinley saw the killer reaching, and he turned to run. It was too late. The hollow point bullet traveled through his left shoulder and exploded within his chest. He was killed instantly over a horn honking and a double-parked car. A stranger with a stolen gun killed him a few minutes after midnight on New Years Day in 2004.
Life for McKinley’s family changed forever that night.
His killer, 18-year-old Kyle Sanders, a high school dropout, was initially charged with Murder One, but it was downgraded to Murder Two. He was sentenced to 22-years in prison.
His accomplice, 18-year-old Patrick Denny, was also initially charged with Murder One but through a plea-bargain the charge was downgraded to Accessory To Murder, a misdemeanor in VA, and was sentenced to 8 months and only served half.
In one horrible moment McKinley’s mom went from being a PTA soccer mom, to the mother of a murdered child. Jeanette Richardson, his adoring mother, refused to sit idly by and watch another family go through what her family has been through without helping others and lobbying to change our nations lax gun laws.
Sadly, when you become outspoken about something it seems that crazy people come out of the woodwork too.
Richardson is an activist and community leader with many gun safety organizations and it seems the fringe gun nuts are non-to-happy and can be quite vocal and cruel. As if losing a child to a senseless murder isn’t enough!
Mom’s Demand Action, Everytown For Gun Safety, The Brady Campaign, Co-Founder of the VA Chapter of Parents of Murdered Children, and President of Virginia Center for Public Safety are just a few of the organizations Richardson works with. She is presently working to stop domestic abusers from being able to legally obtain guns.
One of the gun offenders, we’ll just call him ‘Rick’ because of ongoing legal reasons, took to Twitter making 20 or more fake accounts and going after not only Richardson, but other common sense gun activists too. One of those accounts used a play on McKinley’s name and poked fun of the fact he had been killed, writing as if he were her dead son by way of Twitter. ‘Rick’ started tweeting to Richardson using the handle @PMckilledlin. If you look at the top of some of his tweets you’ll see crime tape and markers. It’s kind of hard to make out in the screenshots his mom sent me, but the person taunting her has a Twitter profile picture that looks like chalk outline of a dead body.
See some of his disturbing tweets below:
The Tweets are difficult to make out, the page has since been removed by Twitter, but the first on says:
I was chilling. but there was a smell of chicken grease in the air and it caused a frenzy and I’m gone. It aint no thang but a chicken wing.
Whoever made the account was making light of McKinley’s horrible murder. He then rambles on with a few more asinine Tweets:
We need to stop all that guns violence!!!!!!!
Stop gun violence! Look what happened already!
We need laws to stop drug users and felons with mental health from getting guns. Wait, huh? Oh right already exists.
That’s when McKinley’s mom decided to respond to her tormentor:
It takes a really sick person to do something like this, but Richardson will not be bullied and she’s going to keep fighting.
McKinley’s story is just one of thousands that happen every year. It’s about time something is done to prevent things like this.
Please contact your local, state and federal politicians and DEMAND stronger common sense gun laws!
Featured image via Jeanette Richardson