July 20, 2023
Time: Morning

Richmond, Va. (WRIC) – A person is now dead after being shot and killed in Richmond’s Fairfield Court neighborhood.

Richmond officers were called to respond to a shooting in the 2100 block of Newbourne Street at 7:21 a.m. Thursday morning. Upon arrival, they found a man who had been shot.

The man was taken to a local hospital where he died from his injuries.

Richmond Police Chief Rick Edwards confirmed a homicide investigation is underway.

Source: WRIC 8 News

July 21, 2023
Time: sometime in the afternoon

Ha ha ha! was the joyful reaction I shared with three fellow inmates. We were sitting at a 4-seat steel table in the day room area of an 80-bed dormitory, kidding around for laughs. “You’re crazy!” I said to the jokester who sat directly across from me.

“La!” a guy shouted from across the day room. I recognized the voice and instinctively locked eyes with the guy at the first phone.

“You need the phone, bruh?” the guy asked with the phone in his hand.
I neither planned, nor asked to use the phone, but a sudden gut feeling told me to call home.

“Ye–Yeah” I stuttered as I stood to my feet.

As I walked to the phone, I cracked up again after one of the guys commented about the limp in my walk.

After I sat down in the phone chair, I typed in my pin then dialed my mother’s cell number. My mother answered after three rings, which was kind of odd because she usually waits until after 6 to 8 rings before she picks up.

“Hey, Mom! How are you doing?” I said as I smiled from ear-to-ear.

“I’m fine, baby. How are you doing?” she replied.

My mother is an exceptionally strong woman, but I sensed that something was wrong with her. Despite her forced calmness, however, I didn’t want to think negative, and so I chose to power over.

“I’m feeling a lot better now, you know, regaining my confidence,” I said with true pride.

I had been battling with my own demons. After losing my Aunt Sylvia a few months earlier and learning about my ex-girlfriend’s suicide, among other personal struggles, I was dealing with a tremendous amount of pressure, failure, and depression. However, my life was falling back in place, so I was in a confident state of mind.

“Oh, that’s good, baby. I’m happy to hear that,” my mother said then paused for a few seconds. It was an awkward silence. I felt she had something to tell me, and I was subconsciously waiting for her to come with it. “Well … I have some bad news to tell you, are you ready for it?” she said in a soft tone.

“What’s it about? Who’s it about?” I asked nervously.

“Oh, it’s bad, it’s very bad,” my mother said slowly.

A sense of fear crept up on me, but I continued to power over.

“No, no, no, mom! Please not right now. Really, mom?! After everything I’ve been dealing with?! I don’t need any more bad news, right now, mom, no,” I said sternly.

“Okay, okay, you’re right, I won’t tell you,” she said in the same forced-like calm mood. My mother backed off.

It was complete silence on the phone, but not for long. As the old saying goes: curiosity kills the cat. Concern was rapidly growing, penetrating my defense mechanism of powering over life’s messy middle. The happy smile I had masked was now a stale face of uncertainty. Curiosity and deep concern won. Now I had to ask. Now I had to know. As a matter of fact, I demanded to know what it was now.

But before I could utter a word, the voice of my oldest brother, Dante, began speaking to me. I was so fixed on knowing what was wrong that I don’t remember what his first words were.

“Bruh, what’s mom talking about?” I asked with urgency.

“Man, don’t pay mom any mind. She’s trippin’, lil bruh,” Dante lied.
Dante will shamelessly tell a lie or two, but I wasn’t going for his false testimonies.

“Dante,” I said firmly, “don’t lie to me!”

“Yeah, you’re right, I can’t lie to you, lil bruh,” he said, “alright, are you ready for this, lil bruh?”

I didn’t respond to his question. I remained silent as I prepared myself for the worse.

“Jemario is gone, lil bruh. He got shot five times yesterday, and it was over a girl, lil bruh,” Dante said.

I was shocked. I was speechless. I was stuck.

“Tee! (is what Dante calls me)” Dante said abruptly.

“Yo,” was all I could say after snapping out of a short state of shock. I was trying to process what I had just heard. “My brother, JeMario, is dead?!” I thought silently.

“Don’t do anything crazy, lil bruh. We’re making arraignments for you to attend the funeral, so don’t do anything thing crazy,” Dante said.

I was unresponsive. My thoughts were clouded. My vision was blurred. I was lost. The last thing I remembered was a woman, who wasn’t my mother, saying something to me before I hung up the phone.

Again, I drifted off into a trans of shock.

I was awakened hours later by whistle blows. It was count time.

Before I climbed down from my top bunk to stand up for count, I grabbed my tablet and put on my headphones. I went to my music app and selected a random playlist. Standing up with my forearms resting on my bunk, I zoned out to Lil Durk. When Lil Durk sang the words, “… why y’all let him die, I can’t believe y’all …”

My chin dropped as pain spread through my veins. My vulnerable soul broke down and cried in the middle of count time. My bunkie laid his hand on my shoulder, squeezed it, and said, “it’s going to be okay, La, stay strong.” The powering over was finally over. Tears covered my face as my heart ached. It was the beginning of me embracing the horrible reality of my big brother’s death.

To be continued ….