‘It hurts to breathe': Mom of Garland teen murdered near his home


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A Garland family is mourning the death of a 15-year-old brother and son.

Russell “RJ” Jefferson was gunned down near his home on Roanoke Drive.

“My whole body aches. It hurts to breathe,” said RJ’s mom, Erica Williams.

‘it hurts to breathe': mom of garland teen murdered near his home

NBC 5 News

Erica Williams

On the porch of their home, Williams and RJ’s siblings said it feels like time is standing still.

“We’re just a bunch of people that’s just here. We’re just here waiting for him to show up,” said RJ’s sister, Deangela Love.

RJ was a sophomore and JV football player at South Garland High School. Williams said he got good grades, aspired to enter the NFL and enjoyed playing chess.

A neighbor called 911 at about 6 p.m. Wednesday about a male lying in the street that appeared to be shot.

Love said she ran outside.

“I see my brother on the ground with his blood and that’s something that I’m going to have to live with seeing my brother’s tears rolling down his face just dying,” said Love.

RJ was rushed to a hospital where he died. Williams said she doesn’t know who would want to hurt her son.

“That was my baby. He wasn’t no thug. He wasn’t no street boy. He was somebody that was loved. I loved my son. I worked hard every day, every day to make sure that he wanted for nothing,” said Williams.

‘it hurts to breathe': mom of garland teen murdered near his home

NBC 5 News

Cesar Rocha, booking photo.

The suspect, 18-year-old Cesar Rocha, of Pleasant Grove, is now charged with RJ’s murder. Garland police said the two teens met online but the extent of their relationship is under investigation. No motive was given by the police.

The arrest offers some comfort to RJ’s family facing unthinkable grief.

“Grief never goes away, you just have to cope with it but at least I’d Iike to cope knowing that his murderer is behind bars,” said Love.

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