Baltimore Mom Who Pulled Her Son From Riots: 'I Didn't Want Him To Be A Freddie Gray'

Toya Graham speaks out.

Of the many powerful images from Monday night's protests in Baltimore, one of the most widely circulated was a video of a mother stepping in when she saw her son, with a hoodie and a mask, apparently ready to join a crowd of angry protestors.

Initially, that mother, Toya Graham, saw people congregating and tensions heightening, and was surprised by what she was next.

"Lo and behold, I turn around and I look in this crowd, and my son is actually coming across the street with this hoodie on and a mask," she told "CBS Evening News" on Tuesday. "At that point, I just lost it."

In the video, we see her shouting at her son, 16-year-old Michael, and doing her best to physically restrain him from leaving her side and getting involved. The moment went viral -- but it wasn't for show.

"He gave me eye contact," she said. "And, at that point, not even think about cameras or anything like that -- that's my only son, and, at the end of the day, I don't want him to be a Freddie Gray. But to stand up there and vandalize police officers -- that's not justice."

The clash between police and residents intensified Monday night, just days after Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black Baltimore native, died while in police custody.

Graham, who's a single mother with six children, thought back to her immediate reaction when she saw her son on the street.

"I was angry; I was shocked. Because you never wanna see your child out there doing that. There are some days that I'll shield him in the house, just so he won't go outside. And I know I can't do that for the rest of my life -- he's 16-year-old, he's into the streets."

"He said, 'Mom, when I seen you, my instinct was to run.' I'm a no-tolerance mother; everybody that knows me know I don't play that. He knew," she explained.

"Is he the perfect boy? No, he's not," she continued. "But he's mine. I'm just grateful that I was able to get him home, and we actually sat back and we watched the news and everything. He had Facebook and everybody making comments, saying, You shouldn't be mad at your mother, you should give her a hug. And by him seeing everything that's going on, I just hope -- not sure, but I hope -- that he understands the seriousness of what was going on last night."

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