Father of 9-year-old Markiya Dickson applauds Northam’s call for gun control


RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A Richmond father is speaking on Gov. Ralph Northam’s plea for a special session on gun control after losing his daughter to gun violence a couple of weeks ago. 

The father of 9-year-old Markiya Dickson, who died in a shooting at a Richmond-area park, told 8News when he saw what the special session called for, it made him feel like somebody was finally paying attention to the problem of gun violence, and that in some way, his daughter’s memory will live on. 

“I don’t want nobody else to feel this pain,” Mark Whitfield said. “This pain is unreal.”

A cookout at Carter Jones Park turned deadly when men started shooting into a crowd of people, hitting and killing Markiya. 

RELATED: ‘Votes and laws, not thoughts and prayers’: Northam calls for special session on gun control

“Anybody do this type of thing in a park, a public park where kids supposed to have fun…they gotta pay the price,” Whitfield said. 

Weeks later, with no suspect in custody, he’s only left searching for answers.

“If I can help somebody else’s child or keep someone else from going through what I’m going through, I’m willing to do that for the rest of my life,” he said. 

Markiya’s family want the violence to stop in the community. 

“Some areas should just be off limits,” said Taylor Mitchell, Markiya’s cousin. 

With the Virginia Beach tragedy still on the minds of many, officials knew something needed to be done. Now with Gov. Northam setting a special session for gun control, Whitfield has one message for the legislators ahead of July 9.

“Everybody keep going down the same path and it’s getting us the same result which is nothing,” Whitfield said. “Let’s start a new path because it’s about our children at the end of the day.

“This ain’t the end, it’s just the beginning of what we have to endure and go through.”

RELATED: ‘She should be here’: Funeral honors life of 9-year-old Markiya Dickson

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