RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A Richmond Police officer opens up about his hurtful past in the hope of helping save lives.
27-year-old De’Dongio Randall is a product of domestic violence. Because of it, he never met his mother and his father will spend the rest of his life behind bars. The officer’s story is giving hope to those around him.
Sometimes life can throw you its hardest punch.
“High school football games….You have the lights. You have the grass, the dust, the smell you know and when you look up in the stands, you’re like ‘Man, if she was here, I wonder how it would be’ you know?” De’Dongio Randall said.
He’s referring to the mother he never met.
“Football games, basketball games, college, graduations. ‘God man. Me and her graduated from the same college. Dang, I wish she was here’, you know. We graduated from the same college. If she was here, I wonder what she would say to me now,” he admitted.
Deborah Randall was pregnant with him when Randall’s father shot and killed her. She gave birth while in a coma before passing away. He grew up knowing his grandmother as mom, but then came that startling day. De’Dongio was 10 years old.
“I saw a news clipping on a VHS. I looked at it. I took it to my grandma. She explained to me, ‘You know, I guess it’s time’,” he explained. They had a heartfelt conversation.
“She told me ‘In a few years you’re going to have to go visit your father yourself and you’re going to have to figure out why,’” he explained.
He didn’t wait a few years. He waited more than a decade.
"My 25th birthday, I went to go speak to him,” he said.
He took a trip to the prison where his father is serving a life sentence.
"I was angry at first… for years, because I never knew. I never understood,” he said.
During the course of the conversation came a pivotal decision. Randall forgave his father.
“Because I wanted to grow self and work on myself,” Randall explained. Now, the Virgina Union and Virginia State graduate serves as a Richmond police officer using his platform to be a role model.
“Coming back to the streets of Richmond, I felt like I understand the culture, the communities and I feel like I can hands on help out… In life, a lot of kids and families are suffering with domestic violence now,” he said.
The RPD officer just became a father himself, making the mission of preventing domestic violence even more personal.
“Walk away. Take that second to breathe, walk away,” he said. “Because generations can be impacted.”
“Generations. My son. That was his grandmother. He has his great-grandmother but he doesn’t have his grandmother,” Randall said.
A fact that could have shattered his world. Instead, it inspired him to be better.
"I learned that you can’t control things in life,” he said.
Although you can control how you live your life - in spite of it.
"I really feel like I didn’t lose anything. I feel like I gained,” Randall added.
He will be one of several speakers at next week’s Martin Luther King Community Day event in Richmond. Topics such as mental health and domestic violence will be addressed with professionals on hand. The event is hosted by Miss Community Clovia and will be held at the Trinity Family Life Center Monday from 12 p.m. until 3 p.m.