MEBANE, N.C. – The holidays are a time when families come together, but for Alicia Whitfield, she admits for her family this holiday will be a tough one.
“It was supposed to be a happy year. We had so much sadness in our family. This was supposed to be happy, not for me to be burying a 22-year-old. He's supposed to be burying me,” she said.
Her son is Brandon Frye.
Frye was a 22-year-old father of two and marketing business major at North Carolina A&T State University.
“He knew at 5-years-old that he wanted to go to college. He always said that, ‘I’m going to be the first grandchild to graduate from college,’ and he would've been...he still is the first grandchild to graduate from college,” Whitfield said.
She says her son always aspired to be a businessman.
“I just watched him grow into a wonderful person. I seen him change,” said Yolanda Degreaffenreidt, Frye’s girlfriend.”
“It was refreshing to have him call me and he helped me work through some of my problems,” said his father, Tim Frye.
However, on the afternoon of October 3rd, that's when Frye’s family's world turned upside down.
“To get that message at work. It was like I passed out a work. I was not believing it,” Whitfield said.
“It tore me up,” Frye said.
Police found their son, Brandon, shot in the chest at the Stonesthrow Apartments in Greensboro. He would die there at the scene just moments later.
This week more than a month later, police arrested the man suspected of killing Frye.
Jmal Townsend is charged with first-degree murder and robbery with a dangerous weapon.
“Every time I come over here I just ask him, ‘Brandon send me a sign, send me a sign.’ I guess that day he just knew that that would be the greatest joy of my life,” Whitfield said.
“They say time heals, so I’m going to need time,” Luther Neal, Frye’s best friend, said.
While Frye’s family still doesn't know what happened, they do know they will hold on to each other a little tighter this year.
Frye’s family will accept his diploma on his behalf at next month's graduation.
As for Townsend, he is set to face a judge January 18th.