WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - On Christmas Day of 2000, Latoya Davis was pregnant. Sitting at the table eating the food her grandmother cooked, she went into labor.
“He was the best gift ever,” Latoya reminisced, speaking of her son, Tyrese.
Over the next 17 years, Tyrese grew into a quiet, yet popular young man.
“He was just a regular teenager,” she said, speaking to FOX8 on Monday.
But on Wednesday, Tyrese became the victim of gun violence, at the Cambridge Apartments on West 23rd Street in Winston-Salem.
“Someone had Facebooked one of my children and said something about Tyrese being dead,” Latoya said.
Police say Tyrese was shot at 7:55 p.m. Wednesday. Latoya tells FOX8 a friend drove him to the hospital. She headed that way after realizing he was no longer at the apartments.
“Maybe 30 minutes later the doctor came in and told us he was gone,” she said.
Latoya then had to tell Tyrese’s 11 siblings that he had been killed.
“To have to tell my children that their brother’s gone, that was gut wrenching,” she detailed.
On Sunday, Tyrese’s family and friends gathered for a vigil at the same spot where he was killed. There, they lined the scene with candles in his memory.
“There were so many people there that he touched their lives,” Latoya said.
But, when the sun came up on Monday morning, those candles were knocked over and smashed.
“They’re hurting,” Latoya said, of Tyrese’s friends. “They’re wanting to retaliate.”
But, Latoya wants a different kind of revenge. She wants justice.
“I need them to go to the police,” she said.
Investigators say there are people who witnessed what happened when Tyrese was killed. But, they have not come forward to give detectives the information they need to solve the case.
“For anybody that knows anything, they should tell it. The streets don’t love you,” Latoya said. “Look what they did to my son.”
Tyrese’s funeral is set to be held at The Love Church, on Cherry Street in Winston-Salem, at noon on Saturday.
“I want anybody and everybody to come. I want them to see his body,” Latoya said, fighting back tears. “I want them to know that gun violence is real, and they need to stop. This has to stop. It has to stop.”