PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Ger’Vontae Tilson didn’t like to take pictures.
His mother Marisol Tilson tells 12 News she was able to convince her son to take a selfie with her.
“I remember saying to him, ‘you have to take pictures with me because one day, I’m not going to be here and you’re going to need pictures to look back on,'” she said.
But little did she know that it would be the last photo she would ever take with him.
The 15-year-old was gunned down in Providence over the weekend, according to authorities.
“I didn’t know that it would be him that wasn’t going to be here,” his mother said through tears.
Major David Lapatin believes the teen was targeted.
“To see our youth getting hurt like that is very disturbing to us and of course we’re going to work hard to make sure that whoever did this is brought to justice,” he said.
Marisol described her son as a good kid who had a tendency to trust the wrong people.
“I want people to understand that Ger’Vontae was a kid that played basketball, he rode bikes,” she said. “He wasn’t a saint, but what happened to him was senseless. It was uncalled for and it was wrong.”
Ger’Vontae’s death marks the capital city’s fifth homicide of the year. Lapatin said detectives are still searching for those responsible.
“We are on it and we are pushing along,” he said.
In the meantime, Marisol is holding onto every piece of her son she has left, including the last photo she ever took with him.
“It’s hard to look at, but it’s near and dear to me because I can never take another picture with him again,” she said. “He was everybody’s favorite person.”
Friends and family gathered to mourn Ger’Vontae’s death Sunday night, leaving candles, photos and messages at the spot where he was shot and killed.
Marisol said her son lived and went to school in West Warwick.
West Warwick Superintendent Karen Tarasevich tells 12 News support is being made available to students and staff at each of the district’s schools.
“Ger’Vontae will be greatly missed and remembered as a loving and caring person,” Tarasevich said. “We hold him close to our hearts as our thoughts and prayers will continue to be with his family and friends in the coming days.”
It’s unclear what Ger’Vontae was doing in Providence at the time of his death, but Marisol said her son was naïve and didn’t realize how dangerous the city actually is.
“Ger’Vontae wasn’t raised in the streets,” she said. “He was very sheltered.”