PHOENIX (FOX 10) -- A homeless man is facing a murder charge for what police say was an unprovoked attack on a man who just happened to walk by him. Now, the family of the 23-year old victim is speaking out.
The family of 23-year-old R.J. Dunton is devastated, as they never got to say goodbye. The man accused of killing him, identified as 37-year-old Aaren Shivers, initially ran from the scene. He has since been caught, and is now behind bars. There were several witnesses to the deadly punch in the face. but what is not known right now is why the incident happened.
Family members say Dunton lived in an area near 19th and Glendale Avenues. On Monday, Dunton was walking down the sidewalk when he crossed paths with Shivers. Police say Shivers punched Dunton in the face. which caused him to fall into the path of an oncoming car. The driver ran him over, but stopped and stayed at the scene.
By the time Dunton's mother got to the hospital, it was too late.
"There was so much blood and I was screaming for him to wake up," said Dunton's mother, Liza Wilson.
Wilson said Dunton did not survive emergency surgery. Dunton had suffered critical internal and head injuries. Wilson spoke with Dunton's friends, who told her he happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
"His friends that knew him say this man has been on the streets. He did not know R.J.," said Wilson. "They found him walking down that road, yelling at himself."
Shivers is described as a homeless man who had never met Dunton before. Shivers told police Dunton said something to him, right before he punched him in the face. Police believe the attack was unprovoked.
"I don't believe two wrongs make a right, but why does he get three meals a day and a roof over his head and get to breathe and get a chance when he didn't give my son a chance?" said Wilson.
Shivers has pled guilty to several crimes over the past few years, including intentional assault and marijuana possession. Police say he was not under the influence when he punched Dunton, but they believe shivers is mentally ill.
Meanwhile, Dunton's family has set up a fundraising page to raise money for funeral expenses.
GoFundMe for R.J. Dunton