HARRIS COUNTY, Texas - Loved ones of an 11-year-old boy are left devastated after he was shot and killed in northeast Harris County on Thursday.
The family had just arrived home for the day after school and work when 11-year-old Darius Dugas realized he had left his jacket in the car.
ORIGINAL STORY: 11-year-old boy killed in northeast Harris County shooting
Brenetta Francis says her son Darius, affectionately known as D.J., went downstairs from their third floor apartment to her car to get the jacket and other things when she heard gunshots.
"He was not downstairs one minute before we heard gunshots and me and my oldest son ran downstairs," Francis recalls. "My oldest found him, lying down, lifeless."
"It didn’t dawn on me that someone was actually hit until I heard a mother’s cry," says friend and neighbor Sharde Williams. "All the neighbors came out and everyone started praying."
Little D.J. had been shot one time in the heart. He was taken in critical condition to a local hospital, where he passed away.
His mother, who is certainly in mourning, can’t believe someone so violently took her young son.
"The hurt I feel," Francis says shaking her head. "Whoever did this, I need you to understand that you took someone very special."
His mom believes the gunman was trying to steal the car.
"He did not deserve to lose his life because he was harmless. He did not have any keys on him".
She describes D.J., her youngest of three kids, as a boy who was well-loved. He was a sixth-grader at Cobb Sixth Grade Campus, where he played drums and bells in the band and had just received an award for most growth.
"He was a good kid, very respectful," Francis said. "Not violent at all."
"D.J. would take my trash out, and I’d be like, ‘You took my trash out’ and give him a little change," Williams says. "A gentleman, well-mannered."
"He would still run to me every day after school and give me a big hug and kiss," says his heartbroken mom.
There’s a growing memorial where the 11-year-old spent his last moments alive.
Sadly, D.J. is yet another victim to the rising gun violence in Harris County.
"I just really wish you all would just have a lot more regard for human life," says Francis. "You’re not only hurting people’s parents, you’re hurting communities. And then you’re not going to get away with this, so you’re also going to be causing pain and anguish to your loved ones as well."
According to the sheriff’s office, witnesses described seeing a Black teenage male, with a short afro, wearing a white shirt, and dark sweatpants fleeing the scene on foot.
He reportedly ran northbound through the complex and jumped over a wooden fence to exit the complex.
"Life is precious," Francis says. "I just need you all to just have a lot more regard for it because my baby was only 11 years old, and he had a really bright future ahead of him."