‘My son was a hero’: 15-year-old killed after protecting his girlfriend, family says

Virginia News

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Sorrow filled the air for one Richmond family as they searched for answers Saturday night.

The family of 15-year-old JayWan Riley, who was shot and killed Thursday evening in broad daylight, fought through their tears while demanding justice for their loved one.

Toneca Riley, JayWan’s mother, said Thursday was the worst day of her life and she lost her right-hand man.

“I lost my first love, my first born, my best friend,” said the mother of the slain teen.

Richmond Police Department responded to Lynnhaven and Afton avenues in Richmond’s southside shortly after 4:45 p.m. on April 8 for reports of a shooting.

When officers arrived they found JayWan suffering from a gunshot wound. He was taken to a local hospital where he later died.

Riley said her son was protecting his girlfriend from an abusive situation when he was killed. She told 8News she asked for her children and herself to be moved from the area because of the violence, but now the unthinkable has happened.

“I’ve been fearful. I did everything I could do as a mother. I asked for help,” she said. “My help was ignored.”

While looking at pictures of her son and recounting stories about why JayWan was so special to her she wanted her firstborn to know one thing.

“My son was a hero,” she said.

JayWan’s death was the fifth fatal shooting the city saw in a week. Riley said, with her family comforting her, something needs to be done.

“I don’t have answers. We have to stop this violence,” she said. “I want everybody to speak up. Speak up on what you know.”

A vigil was held Sunday, April 11, in the slain teen’s honor at 4 p.m. in the 2500 block of Bethel Street in Richmond.

Our sister-station WRIC in Richmond is pressing Mayor Stoney and RPD for answers in the streak of violence but has not heard back yet.

Any tips about the shooting can be reported to Major Crimes Detective J. Larry at (804) 646-5896 or Crime Stoppers at (804) 780-1000.

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