Singer/actress Jennifer Hudson is turning her personal tragedy into a positive.
People.com reports the vocalist’s family announced the creation of the Hudson-King Foundation for Families of Slain Victims, a new organization for the families of murder victims, on Thursday (Oct. 30). According to the family, the well-being of those who have “lost relatives to a violent crime” was the chief motivator for establishing the foundation.
“This encompasses their basic needs of food, clothing and shelter as well as grief counseling,” the family said in a statement.
The launch of the foundation is the latest development following the shooting deaths of Hudson’s 57-year-old mother Darnell Hudson Donerson, 29-year-old brother Jason Hudson and 7-year-old nephew Julian King last week. William Balfour, the estranged husband of Hudson’s sister Julia, is considered a person of interest in the slayings by authorities.
Although the 27-year-old parolee is in police custody while being held on an alleged parole violation, no one has been charged in the killings.
A prayer vigil in memory of Hudson’s relatives was held Wednesday (Oct. 29) at the Pleasant Gift Missionary Baptist Church in Chicago. News of the slayings continue to send shockwaves around the country as local residents mourn the shooting victims.
Among those on hand for the event was the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who spoke at the vigil and expressed that Hudson and her family “are overwhelmed by the suddenness and the unexpectedness of it all.”
“This family knows triumph, and they also know tragedy,” Jackson told People.
“Jennifer sang her first song in this church Ã¢â‚¬â€œ she said her first prayer in this church,” said the former American Idol contestant’s cousin Shari Nichols Witt, who described King as someone who “seemed like he was ahead of his time.”
Media sources report that detectives believe King was probably shot in the sport-utility vehicle his body was found in. An official who spoke on condition of anonymity told The Associated Press that officials think the 7-year-old was alive when he left the house where his uncle and grandmother were killed on Chicago’s South Side. King’s body was discovered Monday (Oct. 27) in the SUV on West Side of the city.
On Wednesday, the official, who did not give details on when detectives think King died, revealed that Balfour had refused to take a lie-detector test and has stopped cooperating with detectives. It was unclear whether Balfour had an attorney, the AP stated.
That same day, police found a .45-caliber gun in a vacant lot around the corner from where the SUV had been parked. The weapon was sent to Illinois State Police for testing, police Superintendent Jody Weis said Thursday.
Despite preliminary tests suggesting the weapon used was a .45-caliber gun, Weis added that tests should determine whether the gun found in the lot was the one used. The weapon will be compared with shell casings found at the Hudson home, he said.
Funeral services for Hudson’s relatives will be held Monday morning at Apostolic Church of God. The service, which will take place on Chicago’s South Side, will be closed to the public.