In the days after Saquan Hall’s murder, his mother, Patrice Hall, learned details about the shooting. She learned how he was shot once, stumbled, fell, and how the man who killed her son came up and shot him again in the head. The details, Patrice Hall says, that no mother should ever have to learn about her son.
“No mother should have to experience this,” Patrice Hall said, standing over the flowers and notes left by the street sign where her son was gunned down.
Saquan Hall was murdered on July 2 on the 1000 block of First Street. At the time, Saquan Hall had been a person of interest in the murder of Pierre Clark a month earlier, though he was never charged, convicted, or found guilty of any crime. On Thursday, July 21, police arrested Dijuan Clark, Pierre Clark’s brother, and charged him with the murder of Saquan Hall.
Saquan Hall grew up in Old Town in a neighborhood called The Burg where his parents were actively involved in the local church and community. Patrice Hall said former Mayor William Euille had been close with Saquan’s father and that he had frequently assisted her with her community work.
“I remember [Saquan] when he was a toddler,” said Euille. “Off and on, as the kids got older, they would come by and help campaign for me.”
But Patrice Hall said her son had a difficult time with the family’s move further into Alexandria’s west end.
“Saquan was an old soul,” said Patrice Hall. “He didn’t want to move, he loved his friends. He loved the street life.”
Patrice Hall said her son Saquan was very protective of his sister and his friends, which was often the source of trouble. Patrice Hall remembered several instances where a friend of his would start trouble or get into a fight, and it was Saquan Hall who would step in and ultimately take the hits or wind up in jail.
“I told my children ‘the streets can be mean and treacherous,’” said Patrice Hall. “You don’t know who your friends really are. If you’re getting in trouble for them, then they’re not your real friends.”
That habit of stepping into a conflict may have been the source of the recent murders. Over a year ago, Saquan was shot in the hip. Patrice Hall said she was told at the time that Saquan had stepped into the middle of a dispute between two other parties and had been shot for his trouble. At the time, Patrice Hall said her son had refused to tell police who had shot him, though it became clear over time it had been Pierre Clark.
Saquan Hall and Pierre Clark had a history of violence, though in many ways the two men shared similarities. Both were young local men praised for their dedication to family and trying to turn themselves around after a stint in jail. Pierre Clark was recovering from his drug addictions and had just begun to work two new jobs.
While looking through her son’s papers after his death, Patrice Hall discovered that Saquan Hall had ambitions to go back to school and become an HVAC repairman, one day hoping to own his own small business.
Despite the rift between their sons, Patrice Hall said one of the only other women in the city who knows what that pain is like is Pierre Clark’s mother, Gloria Clark.
“My heart bleeds for Ms. Clark,” said Patrice Hall. “I don’t have to put myself in her shoes. I know what she’s going through.”
WHAT HAPPENED on June 8, the day of Pierre Clark’s death, is still unknown. According to police, the case is still open, and Saquan Hall was being looked at as a person of interest in the investigation.
Since Pierre Clark’s death, the questions about Saquan Hall’s involvement has haunted his mother. Patrice Hall could recall nearly every detail of the day of Pierre Clark’s death. She’d called Saquan Hall three times throughout the day to discuss their plans and said he didn’t seem any different. She’d passed the crime scene on the way to work, but it wasn’t until later that someone told her that the man who’d been shot was the same one who’d shot Saquan Hall in the hip.
“As a mother, our children tend to do things, say things, that we have no knowledge of,” said Patrice Hall. “I raised Saquan to do things differently.”
Patrice Hall said she could remember a time when Saquan Hall was little and there was an incident he was upset about.
“He wouldn’t let it go,” said Patrice Hall. “He couldn’t forgive.”
And yet, Patrice Hall also remembers the older Saquan being the one who worked to reconcile a rift with his sister, that he was the one who apologized to her and that he’d offered his forgiveness.
“I would hate to think Saquan would do such a horrible act,” Patrice Hall said. “I tried to make him understand we have to love.”
In the days after Pierre Clark’s murder, Patrice Hall said the police raided their home in the middle of the night. Patrice Hall said she heard two loud booms, like bombs being dropped on their building, and then men in fatigues, night vision goggles, and rifles were in their living room and going through their home. Patrice Hall said she was told that there was a video of Saquan Hall fleeing the scene of the crime and that police were looking for a grey shirt he was wearing in the video.
When police left, Patrice Hall said they left the door busted down, with her unable to go to work for days after while she waited for it to be repaired. She is currently seeking compensation from the city for the damages as well as tracking down the last of her son’s personal belongings.
The night Saqan Hall was killed, Patrice Hall said she got a phone call that he had been shot. She left the house in a hurry, wearing her slippers, not knowing what to expect. Patrice Hall said she’d thought back to the time he was shot in the hip before, hoping it would be something minor. She rode with Saquan Hall to the hospital where he died, but said she was still in a state of shock at that point. It wasn’t until she got home and laid down that it began to sink in.
“I can’t be in here by myself, I have to do something,” Patrice Hall said. “I have to keep myself exhausted so that I can fall into the bed at night. If I’m just tired, and not exhausted, I close my eyes and I see the images.”
But Patrice Hall says the arrest of Dijuan Clark hasn’t brought any closure.
“I didn’t feel anything, it didn’t change anything,” said Patrice Hall. “It couldn’t bring my son back.”
ON SUNDAY, July 24, local pastors led a small group in prayers at the site of Pierre Clark’s murder and a block away where Saquan Hall was killed.
“Blood has been split on our corners,” said Pastor Rod Sampson from City of Hope Metro. “Blood has been spilt in our streets.”
“We must continue a dialogue amongst one another,” said Pastor Taft Quincey Heatley from Shiloh Baptist Church. “We want to continue to have a presence in this community.”
But for residents and local activists, the city leaders needs to do more than pray.
“You have to do outreach,” said MacArthur Meyers. “We need to invest in the issues of concern, like teen pregnancy, unemployment, and offender restoration. You have to offer stability. What you have in this culture, the men leave in the middle of the night because they can’t live with the mothers. They’re moving through the neighborhood at night, and that’s when things like this happen.”
Among the small group of pastors and local residents gathered was Euille.
“It’s tragic,” said Euille. “As a community we need to come together and put an end to this. We need to work together to make sure we provide services and outreach to our youth and young adults so that they can be doing more positive thing.”