Never miss a beat! Sign up for the Flint Beat newsletter.
FLINT. MI — He was a typical 10-year-old boy.
Jacques Allen loved to watch YouTube, go fishing and sledding and hanging out with friends.
So far, everyone says the same thing. Jacques was just a “good kid.”
“He loved to dance. He loved his game. He was loved. He was kind. He was sharing. He was a 10-year-old kid. He was just so loving,” said Jacques’ grandmother, Nelda Allen. “He was always wanting to give people a hug and stuff like that.”
That changed on Jan. 1, 2018 as Jacques and his grandmother were finishing dinner in the kitchen of their home on Flint’s north side.
Bullets sprayed the home on the 5000 block of Granville Avenue, and she watched her grandson fall to the floor after being struck by one of the bullets. A day later he died from his injuries.
“I don’t know if I can go back home,” Allen said. “Right in front of my eyes, I can’t get this out of my mind. It’s like a tape recorder is steadily playing in my mind. It’s so difficult. It’s so difficult. Everybody says the same thing. He was a good kid.”
In nearly five years a family of four has slowly become smaller and smaller due to a number of tragedies. In 2012, Jacques’ father was shot and killed and his mother died in 2014 after struggling with kidney disease for years finally leaving Jacques and his sister in Allen’s care.
Over the years Allen has taken care of three of her grandchildren, Jacques, his sister and a cousin, all while struggling her own health issues including a nearly five-year battle with cancer, which she is currently taking chemotherapy treatments for.
“I’ve helped take care of him since he was born,” Allen said of Jacques. “He’s always been around.”
Allen said, her home will never be the same.
“I have bullet holes all in my walls, in the kitchen. I haven’t had a chance to wash my dishes none of that,” she said. “I’m scared to go back there. I don’t know if people are going to come back. I’m just so messed up in my mind with this right now.”
There was an outpouring of support on social media for Jacques who was a student at Brownell-Holmes STEM Academy. He also participated in mentoring programs in Flint at local community centers and churches including partaking in an annual fishing trip with Men Community Action Resource (MCAR), a mentoring program run through Bethesda Temple for boys where he met hundreds of boys and mentors from Flint area youths.
“Jacques didn’t deserve this,” said 14-year-old Joshua Johnson who also participates in the MCAR program. “He was a cool kid. People liked him a lot. I liked him.”
Mentor and friend of the family Hubert Roberts said he started working with Jacques when he was 4 years old. Jacques is the third child Robert has lost as a mentor due to gun violence.
“At first I was angry,” said Roberts. “I was just so angry. This is a senseless act of violence. He was a good kid. We have to teach our young people how precious life is. The only thing we can do is continue to work with them. To show them that they are loved and remain consistent in their lives.”
Community members are rallying behind to the family to help pay for funeral costs, repairs to Allen’s home and are working to potentially launch a scholarship fund in honor of Jacques for Flint area youth.
“We are putting calls out to the community to let them know that the family is in need of help,” said Kenyetta Dotson of WOW Outreach, a Flint-based community action group. Dotson through her organization, which is supported by Church Without Walls is accepting donations for the family.
“We have to reach out to the community to help end this type of violence,” Dotson said. “This tragedy is fresh in our hearts and our minds but there has been so many over the years. Flint has to come together.”
The Flint community is collecting donations to help the Allen family with burial costs, home repair and to help potentially launch a scholarship program for Flint area youth. Donations can be sent in c/o Jacques Allen to one or all of the following options below.
Church Without Walls
6202 Dupont St.
Flint, MI 48505
The family has launched a GoFundMe campaign. To donate click here.
Visit Wow Outreach here to make a donation by clicking here.
Donations can also be sent to Sheldon T. Banks Funeral Home located at 3201 S. Dort Highway, Flint MI 48507 for the Allen family.
(Editor’s Note: Joshua Johnson is the son of Flint Beat reporter, Jiquanda Johnson and Hubert Roberts is her stepfather. Both Joshua Johnson and Hubert Roberts had a personal relationship with Jacques Allen.)