TAYLORS, SC (WSPA) – The family of a man shot and killed over the weekend has an urgent plea as they seek justice.
The Greenville County Sheriff’s Office said Ja’Tyius Grady, 23, was killed outside of Spring Grove Apartments in Taylors on Saturday.
In a news conference on Thursday afternoon, multiple members of Grady’s family pleaded for people to put the guns down.
With tears rolling down their faces, they repeated things like ‘end gun violence’, ‘it’s time for it to stop’ – over and over again.
“It shouldn’t have happened. I’m devastated,” said Bennetta Grady, victim’s mother. “I love my son. I know everybody loves their kids. I just feel like it shouldn’t have happened.”
“My son was not perfect, but he was perfect for me, and I knew his heart and he would give you the shirt off his back,” Bennetta said.
“I just want to say, I miss my cousin. He talked to me every day,” said Elisha Thompson, Grady’s cousin. “Even though we were far away from each other. He died to senselessness. This shouldn’t never happen.”
Bruce Wilson, an Upstate community activist, works with grieving families frequently. Wilson is also calling for the violence to end.
“It’s time for it to end. It’s time for us to stop watching mothers bury children,” Wilson said. “Enough is enough. We need for it to stop. It’s time to end.”
“When this mother buries this young man, there will be a young child that will grow up without a father. That’s what we keep seeing repeated throughout our system,” said Wilson. “Fatherless children being created through this senseless gun violence. That has to stop. That needs to quit.”
Deputies arrested 28-year-old Elex Gregory for Grady’s murder. Deputies said Gregory knew the victim and shot him following an argument.
“I can’t think. I can’t breathe, but at least I know the person that orchestrated it, that caused the murder is in jail. You know, there’s many more,” Bennetta said.
“Ja’Tyius was sweet…sweet young man. We had the honor to have him only 23 years, and he was taken from us,” said Shamika Grady, the victim’s aunt.
“They took our baby. They took the oldest of our family to gun violence. We got to put the guns down. They took him,” she said.
“We’re broken. A piece of our heart passed on Saturday,” Grady said. “We can’t call him no more. We can’t text him no more. We can’t hear, ‘I love you momma,’ ‘I love you aunty.’”
Eva Jeter is Grady’s cousin. She said she lost her father in the past, and never got justice. Now Jeter wants justice for her cousin, and for people of all ages to stop gun violence.
“I know I’m young and stuff, but I already experienced this before,” Jeter said. “People need to put the guns down because you’re hurting people who love these people.”
“Me speaking for him is going to help a lot of people, because I never got justice for my father, and me getting justice for my cousin is going to be perfect for people who are losing their kids,” Jeter said.
“People my age, y’all need to put the guns down. People older, put the guns down–y’all are hurting people,” Jeter pleaded. “Y’all are messing up people’s lives. Y’all are destroying lives for no reason.”
“God didn’t put you on this earth for y’all to kill and destroy people. They have a life to live. People to go home to,” Jeter said. “All I’m asking is for y’all to put the guns down and stop messing up people’s lives.”
Thompson said she not only wants gun violence to end after her loved one’s death, but for other victims too.
“We just want justice for everyone that has lost a young one to gun violence over senselessness. I pray for everybody and their families, as much as I pray for my family,” Thompson said.
As of earlier this week, the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office told 7News that Gregory was charged with murder and possession of a weapon during a violent crime.
WOMAN CLAIMS STRAY BULLETS HIT APARTMENT DAY BEFORE GRADY’S DEATH
Victoria Thomas lives at the same place Grady was killed, and she is echoing his family’s plea.
Thomas said the night before the deadly shooting, bullets entered her apartment.
“Friday night my apartment was shot up, which triggered a whole lot of trauma in me, from being shot,” Thomas said.
Thomas said she and her children, including a newborn baby was sleeping when the shooting happened on Friday. She also said she was shot at last year, and still nothing has been done.
“Had me or my kids been killed Friday night, then what. So, I’m just praying that certain things be addressed. Certain things be taken care of, because the very next night, somebody was killed out here, due to the same situation,” Thomas said.
Thomas said after the incident, she filed a police report, but we’re still waiting to hear back from the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office on that.