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Survivor Stories

Society failed our daughter. Elected officials must act to stop others from feeling our pain.

Alex smiling in formal wear for prom
Alexandria Imani Burgos

On October 19, 2014, our lives were shattered forever. Our daughter, Alexandria Imani Burgos, who was 18 years old at the time, went to pick up her younger brother, Christian, from a small birthday gathering at a friend’s house. While waiting inside, a stray bullet entered the home, striking only Alexandria, killing her instantly. 

Alexandria and her brother were our miracle babies. After 12 years of difficulty conceiving, the doctors told us we were unable to have children. When Alexandria was born, it was a miracle for our family. When our son Christian was born a short time later, our family was complete. It wasn’t perfect, but the love we had for one another was priceless.

Alexandria’s smile was like the sunshine, and her heart was like gold. Alexandria loved to feel the breeze on her skin, she loved to play basketball, and she loved to drink hazelnut coffee. She loved waking up Christmas morning to open gifts with her brother. Most of all, she loved us, her family.

She was especially close to her brother. They were two peas in a pod. Our son is very independent, but he definitely depended on her. We used to say, “when we’re gone, you guys will have each other.” And now he doesn’t have her, and it breaks our heart. 

When Alexandria was shot, Christian immediately got down on the floor, crawled to her, and held her. Christian witnessing that happen to his sister, the love of his life, had a deep impact on him. Our children should not have to see or experience things like that. 

Millie and Rafael Burgos hold up an anti-gun violence sign at a community event
Rafael and Millie at an event.

In the nearly seven years since she was stolen from us, we have done everything that we can think of to find answers about her death. We have posted fliers, offered rewards, and made our voices heard every chance we get. We deserve to know why this happened to our beautiful daughter, and who was responsible. And yet, Alexandria’s case is still unsolved.

Alexandria was a responsible, loving human being. She was such a wonderful daughter, a great student, and a supportive sister. She did everything that we and society expected of her, and yet society still failed our daughter. We are tired of having no answers! We have lived with her absence every single day since she was killed.

To try to fill the gap that was left after her death, and to create a sense of comfort, we advocate for gun safety legislation and mentor youth in our community to be Alex’s voice. That’s why we are calling on our senators to pass background check legislation now. While our daughter is gone forever, we believe that ensuring that background checks are required on all gun sales would save lives and prevent others from experiencing the grief we live with every single day.

A childhood image of Alex
Alexandria as a young child.

We want people to remember Alexandria’s loving, kind, soft, and humble personality. All she wanted to do in life was help people, which is why she was pursuing a degree in social work. Alexandria always had a nurturing personality. Even as a child, little kids gravitated to her. She had this special gift. Alexandria said she didn’t care that she wouldn’t make much money as a social worker, she just wanted to help kids. 

The dreams that Alexandria wanted to fulfill, like so many others whose lives have been taken by gun violence, were cut short. Our legislators must think about what we and other grieving families go through every day, and the gap that the absence of our daughter leaves in our lives.

We are tired of seeing no action, only thoughts and prayers, from our elected officials. Gun violence is preventable, which is why we need action on background check legislation now. If we can go forward and make a difference, we can save lives, save families, and stop others from feeling the ripple effects that gun violence has on so many communities. Society failed Alexandria, but something can be done to prevent others from feeling this pain. 

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