At the end of her 16-year-old son’s funeral Friday, Katika Travis said the hardest part of her new normal had just begun: living with the reality that her child was fatally shot.

The mom of two boys lost her eldest son, Bryson Hudson, on Aug. 14 when he was killed on the 900 block of North Broadway in Northeast Baltimore. Officers found two male victims, Hudson and a 26-year-old, both suffering from multiple gunshot wounds to the body, police said. Hudson was pronounced dead at an area hospital.

“It’s so hard for me to understand this, but I have to. And I have to accept it and now learn to live with it,” Travis said. “We sent him out in the most beautiful way.”

Hudson is among a growing number of young people killed by gun violence in Baltimore this year, even as nonfatal shootings and homicides are down. As of July 9, 16.95% of gun violence victims were high school-aged teens, a Baltimore Banner analysis found.

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Two of Bryson Hudson's friends embrace during the funeral services for the teen Friday. (Kaitlin Newman/The Baltimore Banner)

“I would’ve taken this pain for you.”

Katika Travis, Bryson Hudson's mother

Family and loved ones gather on September1, 2023 for memorial services for Bryson Hudson, 16, who was shot and killed on August 14, 2023.
Family and loved ones gather on September1, 2023 for memorial services for Bryson Hudson, 16, who was shot and killed on August 14, 2023. (Kaitlin Newman/The Baltimore Banner)
Family and loved ones gather for Bryson Hudson's Memorial Service on Friday. (Kaitlin Newman/The Baltimore Banner)

At least 150 people showed up to the Vaughn C. Greene Funeral Home for Hudson’s home-going service. The pews filled with family, friends, mentors and young people who gravitated toward Hudson’s charismatic personality, a former teacher said.

Loved ones gathered around his open casket with horror and disbelief. Some were crying there, while others retreated to corners to do so. When the casket closed, the wails began.

“Oh, God. Why?” Erica Colbert, Hudson’s grandmother, screamed.

“I would’ve taken this pain for you,” Travis cried. Sobs and tears rang throughout the funeral parlor as tissue boxes were exchanged among viewers.

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“I am not, I am not, I am not stopping until justice prevails. We have got to find out who did this to you, Bryson, because this doesn’t make sense. You cannot hide. You will answer to God.”

Erica Colbert, Bryson Hudson's YaYa (grandmother)

Bryson Hudson, 16, grandmother, or "YaYa" Erica Colbert, cries as she remembers her first grandchild.
Bryson Hudson's grandmother, or "YaYa," Erica Colbert, cries as she remembers her first grandchild. (Kaitlin Newman/The Baltimore Banner)

The service included readings of poems titled “Dear Brother” and “Mother to Son.” Breaking with tradition, family and friends took the floor to deliver the eulogy.

“We never know the day or the hour. Nobody knows that, but Bryson was well loved … But he got his wings now. And I believe he’s with the Lord,” said Felicia Graham, who had worked with Hudson.

Hudson and Kamera Mason, 16, grew up together in Baltimore’s Middle East neighborhood, near Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.

“That was my best friend since kindergarten. We never missed a beat,” Mason said as she choked up. “I just can’t take it. I just had another funeral yesterday — they just keep happening back to back. And I can’t do it,” Mason said.

She reminisced about how the two attended grade school at Henderson-Hopkins, a public-private partnership school in East Baltimore, and played the flute together. And, even when Hudson started attending Digital Harbor High School, they remained closely connected, she said.

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“I’m going to miss him so much. I just can’t take it,” Mason added.

“That was my best friend since kindergarten. We never missed a beat. I just can’t take it. I just had another funeral yesterday — they just keep happening back to back. And I can’t do it.”

Kamera Mason, 16

School friends of Bryson Hudson, 16, who was shot and killed in August, share memories of him and share funny moments about their time together. (Kaitlin Newman/The Baltimore Banner)

Tracy Estep, a senior officer of operations and program management with the Mayor’s Office of African American Male Engagement, recounted how Hudson never gave up.

In April, the office had an outreach event and Hudson still showed despite being shot in December 2022.

“Bryson called me and said, ‘I’m coming, Ms. Tracy.’ I said, ‘You could barely walk,’ but he showed up and on time. He never stopped. He was in his darkest moments, and commitment didn’t stop,” Estep said, adding that the engagement office had just thrown him a surprise party for his 16th birthday on June 23.

“All 50 of our young people and all of our staff, we celebrated him. He was embarrassed, but you could see the joy on his face of receiving all of those cards and all that love,” Estep said.

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Toward the end of the procession, Hudson’s grandmother, Colbert, said her perspective on life changed when Hudson came into her life.

“I live for both my grandsons, but my Bryson’s physical form was taken by evil. His spirit will continue to live on,” she said pointing to loved ones. She also wants to see his shooter held accountable.

“I am not, I am not, I am not stopping until justice prevails. We have got to find out who did this to you, Bryson, because this doesn’t make sense. You cannot hide. You will answer to God,” Colbert said.

She said he never got to travel the world like he wanted to. He no longer has the opportunity to get his commerical driver’s license to become a truck driver. And he can’t perform music anymore under his stage name, LorB.

Photos of Bryson Hudson decorate the area that family and loved ones set up to celebrate his life. (Kaitlin Newman/The Baltimore Banner)
Family and loved ones pose with a cardboard cutout of Bryson Hudson, 16, who was shot and killed this past August. (Kaitlin Newman/The Baltimore Banner)
Lashyia Streets, left, and Kaneil Johnson, right, show off apparel with their friend Bryson Hudson, 16, on it. Hudson was shot and killed in August. (Kaitlin Newman/The Baltimore Banner)

His uncle, Kolby Hawkins, said his death feels more like a robbery than when someone passes from old age. The two bonded as musicians.

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“He would, like, make beats on my computer. He had rapping going for him. I’m a guitarist, and he just picked up things musically and used it as a pathway to not get caught up in other stuff,” Hawkins said.

“He was always a good kid: active, funny and talented,” Hawkins said. “Teenagers go through lots of things in their lives. And stuff changes. But he was a good kid at heart and just genuinely a decent human being. So this just really hurts. ... [The family is] going to feel this for a while.”

penelope.blackwell@thebaltimorebanner.com

Penelope Blackwell is a Breaking News reporter with The Banner. Previously, she covered local government in Durham, NC, for The News & Observer. She received her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Morgan State University and her master’s in journalism from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.

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