North Toledo mom fighting to help troubled kids

Christopher Ross-Byrd and his mom.
Christopher Ross-Byrd and his mom.
Nicole Ross-Byrd.
Nicole Ross-Byrd.
Reported by Colleen Wells -

Posted by Nick Dutton - email

TOLEDO, Ohio (WTOL) - It's been five months since a north Toledo teenager was gunned down. Now his mother is fighting back by trying to help troubled kids.

Nicole Ross-Byrd is focusing her attention here in the old Cub Foods on Jackman. She hopes to turn it into a safe haven, so other kids don't meet the same fate of her son.

"Christopher loved basketball, he loved boxing, he loved model cars, him and his dad have been putting together model cars since he was a baby," says Nicole Ross-Byrd.

Described by his mother, Christopher Ross-Byrd sounds like a lot of 17-year-olds. But on March third, his life came to an abrupt end. He was murdered while standing with a group of friends in north Toledo.

"I literally stopped breathing...I never ever thought by the time I got to the hospital, he'd be gone."

Christopher's mom, Nicole Ross-Byrd, says the months since her son's death have been difficult. She admits he made wrong choices by joining a gang after being beaten-up several times. Now she wonders if she could have helped.

"Agony, torture on some days, a lot of should of could have would haves."

Those questions are turning into hope, starting with an abandoned building.

"I touched the building for the first time today, and it was really pretty emotional."

It was here where Nicole hopes to house Project Safe. It's a 24-hour a day safe haven for kids that have made bad decisions and want to get help.

"This project is going to work. Our motto is, failure is not an option."

Nicole is raising funds and looking for community support. She says her son was like so many kids. If nothing is done, what happened to him, will happen again.

"This can't happen to nobody else. I don't want other parents to go through what me and my husband are going through right now."