FLINT (WJRT) (1/3/2018) - For the past 35 years, kids throughout the neighborhood have been making their way to the McClendon's backyard. They said Jacques Allen was a frequent visitor.
"When we first moved to this house, one of the first things I asked my wife was, 'Okay you want green, manicured lawns or do you want happy kids?' And she said happy kids," Roger McClendon said.
So he and his wife, Darlene, built a basketball court, put up a trampoline and at one point, set up a sandbox and swingset.
"They just don't have places they can go to and be safe and play," Darlene explained. "And, that was our number one rule, is when you come back here you're going to be safe and you're going to play by our rules, which was be respectful, be responsible."
"Jacques - the older her got, he was one of the ones that kind of helped us enforce the rules," Roger said. "If some of the kids got - if they didn't know the rules, he'd tell em ah you shouldn't say that back here."
Jacques lost his dad to gun violence and then his mom to an illness not too long ago. So, like he is to many in the neighborhood, Roger became a father figure to the 10-year-old.
"I was pissed off more than anything that it happened. But, It really, really crushed us," Roger said.
Heartbroken by their loss, the two say the gun violence needs to end.
"It's gonna take a lot of mindset changes," Darlene said.
"I wish I had more parent participation 'cause most of the time I got all their kids, you know, and I don't see the parents," Roger said. "I just wish I had some more help."
Flint Police are still looking for the shooter. If you have any information, you're urged to call them.