LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) – A North Las Vegas family is having a hard time finding the strength to move on after their 13-year-old was shot and killed before Christmas.
“Biggest smile in the picture,” mom Keonta Cooks tells FOX5 as she scrolls through pictures on her phone. That smile is how Cooks is remembering her son, Keon.
“You can never tell if something is bothering him or anything, he has the largest smile,” Cooks said.
It’s a smile Cooks said her son had until the very end.
“My baby wasn’t scared, he just looked up and smiled. I’m crying hysterically and panicking, he just, like, he was at peace,” Cooks said.
North Las Vegas police say on the evening of Dec. 23 they responded to an apartment complex near Cheyenne and Simmons after getting calls about a 13-year-old boy who was shot.
Moments before, Cooks said Keon was running outside to greet his dad to tell him what he wanted for Christmas.
“I’m going to tell him I want an Xbox and $1,000, mommy,” Cooks recalled.
Within minutes, gunfire erupted outside. Cooks said there were people shooting each other and her teen son was caught in the crossfire.
“He wasn’t gone for two minutes then I just heard a line of gunshots. I’m running out and he was running in. He just collapsed in my arms,” Cooks said.
Keon died at the hospital, just days before his favorite holiday.
“Honestly, I don’t even think he would have gone to sleep, he would have stayed up all night just to open his presents,” Cooks said. “His presents are still sitting in front of the tree.”
Those presents are now with the family to honor Keon.
As the family navigates through their grief, Cooks tells FOX5 she is not sure why this happened or who is responsible.
“He would tell me, ‘Mommy, it’s going to be okay, we can’t hate anyone, but honestly, I’m just filled with a lot of hate but I just tried to think about my child and what he would want,” Cooks said.
Keon would have turned 14 in January. There is a vigil planned for him on Friday.
North Las Vegas police have not made any arrests and tell us they are still investigating this tragedy and where exactly the shots came from.
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