Surrounded by family and overcome with grief, the mother of Andreas de Jesus on Monday visited the makeshift memorial near where her 19-year-old son was shot to death during the Cinco de Mayo parade in Southwest Detroit.
“They just took my son. That’s all I know,” the mother said.
Thousands of people lined the streets Sunday to celebrate Mexican culture when a fight led to gunfire, bringing the parade to a halt as officers scrambled to secure the scene and spectators ran for cover.
An officer was nearby when the shooting happening and immediately took a 24-year-old suspect into custody. Police have not yet released details on the suspect.
The co-director of the Mexican Patriotic Committee of Metro Detroit, Belda Garza, said this year's parade started off on the right foot before the shooting.
"We are devastated by what happened. We've been doing this for 50 years and we've never had an incident in the parade route,” she said.
Organizers plan to meet to discuss if the parade will march on into another year.
Councilwoman Raquel Castaneda-Lopez, the parade’s grand marshal, said the event means so much to the community she represents.
"I don't think this incident is cause to cancel the parade. I think it's really important to the community. It builds a strong sense of community and it's a celebration of culture and history,” she said.
But the celebration turned to heartbreak for de Jesus’ family.
"They took a part of me. That was my life. My baby. My firstborn nephew,” said de Jesus’ aunt, Melinda de Jesus.