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Sixteen-year-old Luis Flores-Bravo thought of others before himself.
“He was a very happy kid,” said his father, Manaces Flores-Bravo. “He had so many plans for the future.”
But the teenager’s life was cut short the night of Friday, July 20 when he was shot and killed at the Speedway convenience store on Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway.
Police responded to a 9:34 p.m. shooting call and found Luis suffering from a gunshot wound in the 1700 block of Freeman Street.
Attempts to revive him were unsuccessful and he was pronounced dead at the scene. Since then, Luis’ relatives have been grieving the loss of a boy who they say was bright, hardworking and had a giving heart.
The 16-year-old was a student at Beddingfield and a Junior ROTC cadet. Police have not revealed a motive or the circumstances surrounding the shooting death. No arrests have been made yet in the case, which is currently under investigation.
Luis’ family said the teen was an innocent bystander who would often walk to the store to buy a snack or soda and return to his Freeman Street home where he lived with his parents.
‘HE LOVED HIS DAUGHTER’
Many gathered at the home of Luis’ parents Thursday. Tears were shed as they tried to come to grips with losing a child who loved his family, especially his 1-year-old daughter, Melody.
“He was a good father,” said Luis’ mother, Sylvia Flores-Bravo. Luis had plans to go back to school and enlist in the Army, his family said. He also worked to provide for his daughter.
“He loved his daughter,” his mother said. “That was his No. 1 priority.”
Luis’ father Manaces said while his son became a father at very young age, he stepped up to the plate. He worked sometimes two shifts while attending school.
‘HE WAS ONLY 16’
Family members said they have been in shock since Luis’ death.
“The way he died and the way they killed him ...,” his father said through tears. “We felt angry.”
Prior to the killing, Luis had worked in the fields all day, his mother said. He had just started the job for summer. She said he got off work around 4 p.m., washed up and later had dinner with his family.
Luis’ mother said the two of them sat on the porch for a while and talked. Luis then decided to make a trip to the store like he always did. But his mother never expected her son wouldn’t return.
“Why did they kill him?” his mother said in tears. “He was only 16. He was just so young.”
Luis’ father said he has been devastated, too.
“He was my right hand,” his father said with tears in his eyes.
Luis’ relatives said they are grateful for the overwhelming support they have received from the Wilson community.
“It makes us feel great he touched so many hearts,” his father said. “We feel the love and support from the community.”
Family members said they remain steadfast in their faith and look to God for strength. His mother, Sylvia, urges anyone with information related to her son’s death to call police.
“Please come forward and talk,” she said. “Don’t keep it silenced.”
“Today it was our son, tomorrow it could be your son,” his father added. “We all loved him.”
Police ask anyone who was near the Speedway, Tuskeegee Street SE or the 1600 block of Freeman Street between the hours of 9 and 10 p.m. on July 20 to call the Wilson Police Department 252-399-2323 or provide an anonymous tip by calling Crime Stoppers at 252-243-2255.
Luis’ funeral is scheduled for noon today at Bible Missionary Baptist Church.