Slain Teen's Mom: 'How Can You Sleep?'

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A mother preparing to bury a 14-year-old son who was killed Saturday night made a plea Thursday to whoever shot him to turn themselves in.

"I just want ya'll to know when you get here, I'm waiting," Chontel Gergar said.

Horace James was killed late Saturday night across the street from an Arlington nightclub that was holding a teen event. Two girls were also hit by the gunfire in a parking lot on University Boulevard North, but they have recovered.

"He was my Valentine's Day baby. I have no son, you know, and its not right," Gergar said.

Police have not said whether they have identified a suspect, but two men were arrested Tuesday on charges of accessory after the fact.

Gergar was at the Duval County Courthouse on Thursday afternoon as Bryant Smith, 20, faced a judge on the accessory charge, as well as a charge of lying to police. She was wearing a button that read: "In loving memory of Horace James."

Police have also arrested 19-year-old Raphael Thompson as an accessory after the fact. The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office would not release booking photos of either man because the case remains under investigation.

Family members said James, who was an eighth-grader at Arlington Middle School, was leaving Club Menage to walk his sister home when he was shot to death. His sister found him on the sidewalk lying in a pool of blood.


James' mother said she had a message for the person who killed her son:

"You can run but you can't hide. I just want them to know, and their parents to know: You took something very special away from me. How can you live your life? How can you go to sleep at night?," Gergar said. "You took my son, but guess what, you're going to do some time."

Anyone with any information about the shooting is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 866-845-TIPS (8477). Callers can remain anonymous and are eligible for a cash reward.

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