By Reg Chapman

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — A mother’s cry for help to save her son from street life is being heard across the metro.

“My son is going to be dead one day because he is going to do something, somebody is going to kill him, or the cops are, “ said Sha’Ron Webb.

Webb’s 14-year-old son ran away from home and someone told her he was hanging out at a gas station in St. Paul. She found him with dozens of other children under 18 and turned to the internet for help.

Webb told WCCO how others are joining her effort to save St. Paul youth from violence.

“Come get them from hanging out in the streets up here at the BP,” said Webb.

She said she was appalled at the number of kids hanging out at the gas station at Hamline and University Avenues.

“There were kids out there from 11 to 16 that didn’t need to be out there because it was after curfew. Their parents should be out there looking for them. They should be held accountable for where their kids are,” said Webb.

She was looking for her son, afraid for his life, in a city experiencing a record number of homicides.

“I’m afraid that my son is going to get involved with the wrong crowd, is going to commit the wrong crime; he is going to aggravate the wrong person, and someone is going to shoot my son,” Webb said.

Her plea on social media touched the hearts of many.

“I’m reaching out Melvin Carter — can you come help my son?” Webb cried.

“It took a mother’s cry to get us to say, ‘Look. Let’s do something. Let’s step out. Let’s help,” said Darryl Spence, a violence intervention consultant with Community Action of Ramsey and Washington counties.

Rev. Spence was one of several people who answered the call.

“I think it’s important that those of us who have connections with these young folks reach back to them and try and get them on the right path. We need to champion this. Go grab one,” Spence said.

Each now are attempting to mentor these kids, trying to get them on the right path. St. Paul’s Department of Safety and Inspections filed an adverse action against the gas station owner, recommending its gas and tobacco license be revoked.

Webb says she didn’t know making a video asking for help for her son would be the start of change.

“I didn’t know what this would bring about. I didn’t, but I know change needs to start, and it starts in the home. It starts in the community and it starts together. It’s something we have to do together,” Webb said.

Several community members have stepped up to mentor Webb’s son.

The gas station owner will fight to save his license during an administrative law hearing on Oct. 13. He tells us he hopes to work with the city to solve the problems and does not believe shutting his business down is the answer.

Reg Chapman

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