‘My baby didn’t deserve this’: Mother speaks out after 11-year-old was shot to death at NE Harris Co. apartment

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas – The family of an 11-year-old who was shot and killed at a northeast Harris County apartment Thursday night has identified the victim as Darius Dugas, a student who attended Cobb Sixth Grade Campus. His mother spoke to KPRC 2 and has a message for her son’s killer.

The child, affectionately called “DJ,” was shot in the parking lot of Vireo Apartments located at 12212 Tidwell Rd.

According to his mother, Brenetta Francis, the family had just arrived home shortly after 6 p.m. and DJ realized he left his jacket and a few other items in the car. The family lives on the third floor of the apartment building and the child walked down to the parking lot.

Francis said about a minute or so later, they heard gunshots. Her oldest son ran downstairs and found his little brother lifeless.

“He was not going across the street. He was not wandering. He was going to the car where he should have felt safe,” Francis said.

[RAW VIDEO: Mother Brenetta Francis speaks about her beloved son]

RELATED: 11-year-old dies after being shot outside NE Harris Co. residence, HCSO says

When deputies with the Harris County Precinct 3 Constable’s Office arrived on the scene, his family was attempting to administer CPR. Paramedics rushed DJ to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Witnesses describe seeing what they believe was a teen boy with a short afro fleeing the scene on foot. He was wearing a white shirt and dark sweat pants. The suspect ran northbound through the complex and jumped over a wooden fence, investigators said.

Francis believes the suspect was trying to rob her son.

“He assumed he had keys on him, but Darius being 11 years old and not fully grasping what’s going on was just trying to get back up to the house, and the boy, I guess fearful for whatever reason, felt the need to take his life,” she said.

Francis said the bullet struck DJ in the heart, adding that the unnecessary loss of his young life will forever affect more people than the suspect would ever know.

“I just really wish that you all would just have a lot more regard for human life. You’re not just hurting people’s parents, you’re hurting communities. You’re not going to get away with this so you are also going to be causing pain and anguish to your loved ones as well,” she said. “Life is precious. My baby was only 11 years old and he had a really bright future ahead of him, and y’all took that away from him for a senseless crime.”

DJ was the youngest of three siblings. In addition to his 19-year-old brother, he had a 14-year-old sister.

DJ’s mother said he was wise beyond his years and she is going to miss his smile. She said every day when he would return from school, he would run to her, give her a hug and a kiss, and tell her about his day.

“I promise, my baby did not deserve this,” she said. “He participates in school activities. He’s in the band. He’s plays the drums and bells. He had just received an award for most growth, was very proud of the work he was doing in school and loved his teachers.”

His family has set up a GoFundMe link to help cover DJ’s burial expenses.

Anyone with information is asked to contact HCSO at 713-274-9100 or 713-222-TIPS.

About the Authors:

Mother of two. Award-winning lover of digital storytelling, sparked by my fascination of being a fashionable gossip like my favorite "Willona Woods" character from "Good Times." On the serious side, president of the Houston Association of Black Journalists and dedicated community servant. Happy to share the news with you each and every day!

Emmy award-winning journalist born and raised in Alabama. College football fanatic and snow cone lover! Passionate about connecting with the community to find stories that matter.