10 News Exclusive: Mom opens up about tragic loss of her 15-year-old son

Isaac Cunningham was shot and killed on his way home from school Wednesday

ROANOKE, Va. – “He was the calm in the storm, always,” Isaac Cunningham’s mom Kierston Cole said.

When Isaac Cunningham was born in July of 2008, his mom Kierston Cole knew from that point on, he was her best friend.

“When I first laid eyes on him, my world opened up...My world opened up,” Cole said.

He was a part of a big family, something Cole said he took in stride.

“Was Isaac someone his little brothers really looked up to?” 10 News’ Reporter Abbie Coleman asked.

“Yes, so here at home Isaac was the rock of our household. He was our backbone. There wasn’t anything anyone could have asked of Isaac that Isaac wouldn’t do,” Cole said.

He was almost a month out from his 16th birthday when he was shot and killed.

“I didn’t know for over an hour that it was Isaac,” Cole said.

Cole was working from home and got an alert that there had been a shooting at Ferncliff. And immediately, her heart sank.

“I did 90 to the school from here,” she said.

Before he died, Cole said Isaac was able to tell police who shot him.

That person is now facing a first-degree murder trial, and the potential to be tried as an adult.

“I’m very pleased with the work that’s being done right now, the upgrade of the charges. I’m very proud of Isaac, because Isaac told them who did what to him,” Cole said.

But she said no matter what happens legally, true justice will never happen.

“It’s not going to bring my baby back. There’s not an amount of time that they could give him that’s going to change how I feel. This has changed my world, my life. He was my best friend,” she said.

“What would you guys have to say to another family, who may go through this one day?” Coleman asked.

“Right now, you’ve got to hold onto Jesus. I’m only able to speak with y’all and sit here and keep calm because of him. God is keeping me. We need to lean not on our own understanding,” she said.

10 News spoke with Cole, and Isaac’s uncle Ian Frierson for a long time Friday, and they could not stress enough what a kind person and how against gun violence Isaac was.

They’re holding a vigil Saturday at the Ferncliff Apartments, where he was killed, at 7 p.m. to honor him and his life.

You can watch the full interview with Isaac’s family below.

About the Author

Abbie Coleman officially joined the WSLS 10 News team in January 2023.

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