JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The mother of a 17-year-old boy who was killed outside of a gas station in a shooting on Friday night is speaking out.
Lucia McBath, who lives near Atlanta, said she wants to honor the memory of her son, Jordan Davis, and does not want his death to be divisive.
McBath said her son brought people together and it would be even more of a tragedy if his death divided people.
She said her son was at a really good point in his life. He was excited about a new job at McDonald's, had just given the Thanksgiving prayer at a family gathering the day before and expressed how grateful to God he was for his family who loved him dearly.
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He aspired to join the military but his dreams were cut short at the age of 17.
"We call him our miracle baby. This is the day we brought him home," she said, showing a baby picture of Jordan.
McBath remembers fondly the day her only child, Jordan Davis, came home. She calls him her miracle baby because she was on bed rest the entire time she was pregnant.
Next to the bed in her Jacksonville hotel room, pictures of Jordan through his childhood and her Bible. It's her faith in God that she said will get her through this unimaginable time.
It was Friday night when she got the phone call no parent ever wants to get. It was Jordan's father.
"He said Jordan's dead. And I just lost it," she said.
The 17-year-old Wolfson High junior was in the backseat of an SUV at a Southside gas station with three of his friends around 7:30 p.m. Friday night.
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McBath says they had been out shopping on Black Friday and stopped at the gas station to get some snacks. Police say the man parked next to them, 45-year-old Michael Dunn, got into a confrontation with them over loud music coming from their car and opened fire, hitting Jordan several times.
"He just reached in his glove compartment and started shooting rounds, just unloading the gun in the car and from my understanding, he was really aiming first and foremost towards Jordan, but he continued to just shoot all the rounds," McBath said.
Investigators say the teens had no weapons ... McBath said childproof locks prevented her son from getting out.
"I just knew someone had shot him but I didn't know why. Then when I found out it was just over loud music I couldn't understand. Over loud music. You don't like their music then so what. It's just music and they are kids, they are teenagers and they all play their music loud. But that's no reason to shoot, no reason to kill anyone," she said.
Reporter: "And the fact that he drove off?"
McBath: "That's just unconscionable."
Dunn was arrested the next day. On Monday, he pleaded not guilty to murder and attempted murder. On Tuesday, he was extradited to Duval County from Brevard County, where he lives.
Dunn's attorney Robin Lemonidis said he acted in self-defense, having felt threatened. She said Dunn said he saw one of the teens flash a gun.
"I don't know what went on in that car and I don't know what the kids or what he said to Jordan. I don't know. ... It doesn't matter. You shot him over some music? And he was in the car and there's no logical reason. There's nothing logical you can say that would make me believe that you were threatened," McBath said.
While she can't make sense of her son's death, she said she doesn't consider it a hate crime.
"We don't know where he was or what kind of dark place he was in at that moment but something snapped in that man. Something snapped in him, so we are not looking at it as the hate crime because that's not going to honor Jordan," McBath said.
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Jordan, she said, was a unifier who always brought people of all different walks of life together.
He was raised near Atlanta and was home-schooled from 4th grade until high school. About two years ago he moved to Jacksonville to live with his father.
"Thanksgiving morning, his dad was saying they were so excited because he gave the prayer and they said it wasn't a short little fly-by-night prayer, it was like four minutes long. He was thanking God for his family in Mexico and thanking God for his mom and dad in Georgia and thankful for his father and all his friends and everybody that loved him. ... and he was just so excited and happy, thanking God he had gotten a brand new job at McDonald's," McBath said.
Having beaten breast cancer twice, McBath knows how fragile life is.
"I was telling my husband every time we go by the funeral home that I wanted to be buried and said 'you know there is where I want you to take me' and 'this is what I want played at my funeral' and I never imagined it would be my child," she said.
Because Jordan always reached out to help those in need, she said his family plans to start a foundation in his memory to help at-risk kids.
"It didn't matter to Jordan if you needed the help, you needed the support he was going to give it to you no matter what side of the tracks you came from so we feel it's really important to honor that in him," she said.
As for the man who police say killed Jordan ...
"You will answer to God for what you have done and we're going to do what legally we can do through the justice system but he has to live with that for the rest of his life and that is going to be his torment. That's his hell," McBath said.
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She plans to contact lawmakers because she wants to get Florida's Stand Your Ground law changed. It says a person is justified to use deadly force if he reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm.
She said she doesn't want any other parent to endure the pain of what she is going through.
There will be two visitations for Jordan Davis. One tomorrow in Jacksonville from from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Hardage-Giddens Funeral Home of Mandarin and one on Friday in Marietta, Ga. His funeral will be Saturday at noon in Powder Springs, Ga.
First Coast News