He was a little boy running from gunfire when he was struck by a stray bullet inside his own home the day after Christmas. Nearly two years later and despite a $60,000 reward, no one is talking.
On Monday, family, friends and community activists came together to celebrate what would have been Terrell Mayes' fifth birthday. While they remember the 3-year-old who was taken too soon, many are wondering what it will take to get someone to come forward and bring a killer to justice.
It was the kind of birthday party a 5-year-old boy would have loved, but the birthday boy was only present in portraits and posters. The promise of a $60,000 reward hasn't persuaded anyone to loose their lips and bring justice to his family, but Marsha Mayes said she hopes guilt will.
"I'm going to keep on coming over here and I'm going to keep on making myself known," she vowed. "I want them to open their mouth and say something. Let me know who did this to my son. That's all I want: A face and a name. That's it."
Nearly two years ago, two gangs were carrying out a running gun battle at 27th Street and Colfax Avenue North, sending the Mayes family fleeing for the safety of an upstairs bedroom -- but one of the bullets found Terrell Mayes before he could get there. He was running up the stairs with a plate of spaghetti at the time with his older brother, Ezra, at his side.
"I think about it -- when he fell down the stairs," Ezra admitted.
The bullet hole can still be seen in the side of the home, and it's a grim reminder that the person behind the gun is still at large.
"Teenagers know what's going on. They may've made a code not to tell, but we believe right now, we've got to do something," said V.J. Smith, of MAD DADS.
So, along with the barbecue and music, a dialogue about gun violence, jobs and resources on the north side begins -- but the speeches, the reward money, and the guilt haven't broken the silence. Perhaps, one birthday will.
Spotlight on Crime is offering up to $50,000 and Crime Stoppers is contributing up to $10,000, including $9,000 which was donated by the public. Tips can be provided by calling Crime Stoppers at 651-452-7463.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension will also accept anonymous tips from the public at 877-996-6222 or by e-mail at email@example.com.