Teresa Terry said a call from her niece was the way she found out her son had been shot.
That’s not how she wants to remember him, though.
“This is Andrew,” she shared, pointing to various items in what she calls her memory room.
His image is everywhere, from prayer candles and in frames to their memorial t-shirts and a tie worn to his funeral.
Above the couch where his father Samuel and sister Sharonda are seated is a piece of art by La’Shune Williams which depicts Andrew with a halo and a single tear running down his cheek. It’s like he’s looking down at the family he’s left behind.
“It’s a lot of memories of my son,” Teresa said.
Andrew graduated from Brighton High School in 2015 and had been in the Army National Guard for two years. She has three large photos of these graduations, these accomplishments, hanging on the wall.
She also wears a pendant that looks like a heart-shaped key with a photo of him in the center.
“He was very special, I keep him close to my heart,” she said, detailing the way they interacted. She wants people to remember that Andrew was a good boy, an obedient son, and had just found out he has a baby on the way.
“He was going to be such a good father,” said his aunt, Mary Anthony. “He was always so good with kids.”
The women wipe their tears as they talk about Andrew mentoring and playing with his cousins.
“Andrew would be out in this yard playing with those babies … Andrew did everything with those boys and those boys grew up and wanted to be like Andrew and they’re like Andrew.”
Teresa and Samuel began fostering Andrew and his sisters when Andrew was four years old. They were eventually adopted and were raised in First Baptist Keeling Church. There Andrew was baptized, served as an usher and junior deacon, and was buried.
“As a baby coming up, he was spoiled. He was a nice young man. Andrew didn’t give me no problem coming up.”
He was a smart child who was a bit of a loner, a quiet man. He moved out of his childhood home at 20 or 21 and often returned to Mason to help his parents.
“I raised Andrew to be a young respectable man. Andrew would always say ‘Yes ma’am’ and ‘No ma’am.’ Andrew would always say ‘thank you.’ He appreciated what somebody gave to him.”
Teresa loved that some of the things she taught him as she raised him were habits he continued and qualities he exemplified into adulthood.
“That brought joy to my heart,” she said. “I could call him and tell him, ‘Andrew, I need you …’ and he’d come to my house.”
The last time she saw him was about eight days before he died.
“He come in … and I was sat there and he smiled at me. He sat right here beside me.”
She told him she loved him.
“He said, ‘I love you, Mama.’ I said, ‘Andrew, can I ask you a question?’ He said, ‘Yes, ma’am.’ I said, ‘Andrew, do it bother you for Mama to call you a baby? You still my baby.’”
Teresa began to break down as she shared their words.
“He said, ‘No, ma’am.’ And this is something that I will never forget on my baby: He was very respectful, never gave me a mumbling, never did nothing … nothing. And what they did to my son, I don’t think he deserved that. He didn’t bother nobody. He rode by himself. And I would always tell him, ‘Son, you don’t have a friend … your friend is Jesus. That’s the only friend that you can trust is Jesus.’”
Covington police were dispatched to Broadmeadow Place Apartments at approximately 10:50 p.m. on Thursday, March 11.
While sitting in a car, Andrew had been shot in the back of the head and twice in the upper torso.
His girlfriend, who had only recently found out she was carrying a baby, was with him. Neither she nor the baby were injured.
After Teresa’s niece called, Mary drove her and Samuel to Covington. They were told to drive down to the Regional One Medical Center to wait on the Hospital Wing to arrive, only it never did.
They were then told to drive back to Baptist-Tipton where she received the news no mother wants: her baby was dead.
“He was a charming man, he was smart, funny, a hard-working young man … with a big, big, big smile on his face whenever he come through my door. That was my boy, that was my baby …” she said through tears. “Andrew did not deserve this. He did not deserve this. Andrew will always be in my heart. I miss Andrew.”
Nearly a month later the man suspected of killing him, Davarious Taylor, has yet to be apprehended.
Last week the US Marshals announced a reward for information leading to the 19-year-old’s arrest.
Teresa made it very clear that remembering Andrew is her priority and vengeance is not hers to seek.
“What they did … I don’t know why they did it, but I have no hate in my heart for what that young man did to my son. You know why? God got that young man. I’m not gonna have that hate and hurt in my heart about what I’m going to do to him. I’m going to still love that young man.”
In a world where most parents would be fueled by anger, she is not. Instead Teresa, who is also a minister, has given the responsibility of finding Taylor to law enforcement and the responsibility of judging him to God and the court system.
She hopes that Taylor, who is also from Covington, will turn himself in.
As for his family, she knows they’re hurting just as much as she is because, if he’s convicted, they will effectively lose their son as well and two children will lose their fathers to senseless violence.
It’s all too much, but Teresa leans on her faith to get her through the days.
“I just give everything to God. I’ve got to be able to see God for myself. So I don’t hate that man for what he did. I don’t like what he did, but I don’t hate him … I can’t have that in my heart. I can forgive him, because God’s got the last say-so. I just want to know why did you do that? Why did you have to kill him? I’m not going to get mad about it, I just want to know.”
In addition to his parents and child, Andrew Maceo Devante Terry leaves his biological mother, Delisha Holden; sisters Teneisha Terry, Daneisha Terry-Mimba (Peter), Sharonda Boyd and Lenora Jones-Terry; brother Andrew Gillian; nephew Jailen Ward; and niece Jamya Lofton. He was a mentor to David Fisher, Oneal and Ryan Terry and also leaves a host of aunts, uncles, cousins, family, friends and a girlfriend.
If you have any information about the shooting or the whereabouts of Davarious Taylor, call special agent Kilpatrick at 731-571-0280.