PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A teenage football player had his whole future ahead of him until he became a victim of gun violence.
Alex Kowalyk’s mother Vanessa is speaking out and calling for change.
She describes her son as a good kid. She said Alex didn’t do drugs and adored his younger sister. She said they had just moved from McKeesport to Shadyside for a better life the very day he was killed.
He was on life support for 13 hours before he passed away.
“I held his hand the whole time and I didn’t leave him for a minute,” she said. “I was there with him and I delivered him up to God.”
Vanessa Kowalyk watched her son come into this world but never imagined she’d watch him leave. Sadly, that is her reality. Her 16-year-old and only son Alexander was shot and killed early Monday morning.
“A friend of theirs was home and they were visiting them and they were on their way home and stopped to see someone and there was a drive-by shooting,” Vanessa said. “It went through the back of my car and into my son and out of my son.”
Vanessa said she knew something was wrong when Alex missed curfew. She called and texted repeatedly but he never answered. It was just before 3 a.m. when a text came through from the friend he was with, saying Alex was dead.
“I thought they were joking or lying and just trying to get a couple extra minutes outside and running around,” she said.
According to Pittsburgh police, Alex was shot and killed early Monday morning in the city’s Uptown neighborhood as he sat in the passenger seat of his mom’s car along Van Braam Street.
Since his death, Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey has called on state legislature to take action and allow the city to make its own gun laws.
“We have too many guns on the streets. If the state doesn’t want to do it, give it to us. Exempt us to be able to take care of the gun situation in the city. We know locally what’s best for us,” Gainey said.
The city of Pittsburgh filed a petition earlier this summer to appeal the state Supreme Court’s decision against allowing cities to make their own gun laws.
No one has been arrested in Alex’s death.