CHICAGO (CBS) – Two parents who lost their oldest child to violence tried to connect with gang members who may have been responsible for their pain.

As CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker reports, this rare meeting took place in the South Side’s 6th District.

Tom Bosley’s 18-year-old son was murdered as he was leaving a South Side church – the victim of mistaken identity.

“No mother or father should have to bury a child,” the teen’s mother, Pam Bosley, said.

Pam and Tom Bosley talked with 16 of the most violent gang members in Auburn Gresham. They talked about the 33 homicides and more than 100 shootings last year in the 6th District and how the killings need to stop.

“It was difficult,” Tom Bosley said. “As I looked into the audience, I was thinking it could have easily been one of those young men that took my son’s life.”

As difficult as it was, the Bosleys put their anger aside. 

“I told them how our life went from one moment our son being there to the next minute I had to go to the morgue to identify his body,” Tom Bosley said.   

Chris Malette, executive director of the Chicago Violence Reduction Strategy, says the strong arm of the law is vital in reducing gang violence. But the community pleading with gang members to stop their troops from killing innocent people might make a difference to some of them.

“They heard it from the perspective of a father,” Malette said. “He is a guy who lives on the block with his family.”

Organizers of the anti-gang initiative say community residents can help deter crime by something as simple as keeping their porch lights on.

And when there’s a lot of activity on the block, criminals think twice about committing a crime in front of witnesses.

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