Dad who lost kids to gun violence watches SOTU

Posted at 10:38 PM, Jan 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-12 23:42:35-05

One seat at the State of the Union was left empty on purpose Tuesday night. It's a reminder of the lives lost to gun violence, something a Milwaukee dad knows all too well.

President Obama mentioned gun violence only once tonight. But the symbolic empty seat gesture caught the attention of Reverend Leondis Fuller of Milwaukee.

"I've lost three sons but I've mentored well over 1,300 folks," said Fuller.

The youngest of Leondis' sons was just 12 years old.

"I really believe my children's life being taken sent an example to have a purpose in my life," said Fuller.
Fuller knows about that empty feeling from gun violence, but believes there's no one simple solution.

"There's problems in our city, and it's not just so much the guns and the homicide. It's what's causing people to carry a gun," said Fuller.

Fuller admits he was not the best father. He battled drugs and alcohol addictions before turning his life around. Now he tries to do the same for others - especially in prison.

"To work with those who may have taken life from me and help them obtain a better live for themselves," said Fuller.

Fuller knows any hope of a turnaround on the problems that lead to gun violence will require a team effort.

"Whether its Republican or Democrats we have to quit pointing the finger and look at how do this thing together."

Rev. Fuller mentors at Word of Hope ministries and started a group called Future, a program that helps fathers be better dads.