Victim's mother: Senseless killings need to stop

Feb. 22, 2013 @ 04:17 PM

A Henderson man put his arm over his face and struggled to keep his composure in Vance County District Court as Judge John W. Davis ruled a $1 million bond in the voluntary manslaughter case against him Friday morning.

Daquan Ortiz, 20, of Henderson, is charged in the Thursday afternoon shooting death of Ja’quon Ty’ree Seward. Ortiz appeared in court alone for arraignment.

Davis explained a list of rights for Ortiz before setting bond. The brief appearance brought an intensity of emotion from families of both Seward and Ortiz, bringing an admonishment from a court bailiff to remain silent.

After the hearing, both mothers embraced and wept together. They said they are friends and their sons did not have animosity against each other.

“He didn’t mean to do that to my baby,” Kisha Eaton, Seward’s mother, said. “It is just another senseless killing. It just needs to stop.”

Ortiz’s mother, Gloria Ortiz, said that the mothers are going to work together to make sure that about a half-dozen others involved with the shooting are brought to justice.

“I want those other boys captured,” Gloria Ortiz said. “My son was defending himself. I was with him, beside him when the shooting started, and he was defending me.”

Eaton said that Ja’quon Seward was pursuing interests in basketball as a student at Western Vance High School, and that his was a life that brought joy to family and friends through his sense of humor.

“He was a really funny guy,” Eaton said, holding back her tears. “He was a comedian, he kept everyone laughing.”

Other family members with Eaton agreed with her, but they indicated that the emotion of the moment was too much for them to say anything further. They supported Eaton down a flight of steps to the lobby of the courthouse and slowly outside.

Gloria Ortiz said that her son would be bearing the burden of this tragedy for the rest of his life, and that he would stand up for what the court decides.

“I just want everyone to take their consequences, not just my son,” she said. “My son didn’t have any problems with her son. He just got caught up in the crossfire.”

She added that she wanted to express her sorrow and condolences to the family of Seward.

Gloria Ortiz said that Daquan Ortiz had been a student at Southern Vance High School, and he has been preparing for attendance at Vance-Granville Community College.

Officers with the Henderson Police Department responded to calls of shots fired at the intersection of Nicholas and Davis streets Thursday afternoon, and they found Seward lying beneath the intersection street sign.

Emergency responders transported him to Maria Parham Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

About 50 people gathered into the area after the shooting, watching police search for evidence inside a large cordoned-off crime scene area.
Several neighbors reported hearing 10 to 20 gunshots.

Family members said they did not know what brought Seward to the intersection area, about four blocks from his Southerland Street home.

A Henderson police information statement several hours after the shooting asked anyone with knowledge of the incident to report it to police or Crime Stoppers. Tips for police can be made by calling (252) 438-4141 or (252) 431-6063. Tips to Crime Stoppers can be made by calling (252) 492-1925, or by going online at hvcrimestoppers.com. Crime Stoppers pays rewards of up to $2,000 for information leading to an arrest.

Contact the writer at mfisher@hendersondispatch.com.