Ja’Zari Harper was a senior at Dudley High School in Greensboro who will never get the chance to go to his prom or walk across the stage at the coliseum like many of his peers will do in the Spring.
He didn’t play sports, instead, he used his free time to work towards becoming a musical artist. He had dreams of becoming a rapper and spent most of his time in the studio.
A Family Seeking Answers: Who pulled the trigger?
A family who lives in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina is demanding answers.
They spoke out after he was murdered on Rollins Street on Oct. 6. Greensboro police are still looking for the person who pulled the trigger.
"He was my son. 17 years old. He was very outgoing, outspoken, smart, he loved his family, he loved music," his mother, Aiesha Harper said.
Harper said every time she tries to reach out to the police, they say they don't have any leads and they're still working on it.
“They’ve just told me it may be a difficult case to solve but they're trying to find out information," Harper explained. "I just want them to find out who did it and whoever did it should serve their time.”
Harper said she always used to speak with Ja’Zari on the phone and he would tell her about his plans following graduation. Now, the family is riddled with grief not knowing who killed him.
“I’m just broken. Our family is broken. We’re hurt. I can hardly function; I have two other sons and a daughter. We are just hurt. Everybody’s hurt. His whole family is hurt, and he came from a very loving family. This has really destroyed us for real," Harper said.
Remembering Ja'Zari: A life cut short
Shelia Brown, Ja’Zari's step-grandmother looks back on all the wonderful memories she's had with him throughout the years.
"I remember Ja’Zari when he was a baby. He was premature, very little when he was born. He was always sweet, loving, happy person, always smiling, and always happy to be around family. Anytime we were all together, we would cook a big meal and that meant so much to him as he was growing up," Brown said.
Brown went on to share how Ja’Zari wanted to make something of his life, but unfortunately, his chance was cut short.
"It’s very hard," Brown expressed. "I’m hurting a lot. I'm hurting for all of us and I'm hurting for Ja’Zari. I just feel like he was cheated out of his life, and we just want justice for him. We just want someone to be caught for what happened to him. I just feel sad it’s been now almost three weeks and we don’t have anything. No one has given us anything to make us think they might be close to finding out what happened. That doesn’t make it any easier for us to deal with."
'My Family is broken': Demanding Justice
Danisha White, Ja’Zari's cousin, said she doesn't want this to happen to anyone else and she wants justice for her cousin.
"My family is broken. We don’t know how to go on day to day. It’s a struggle every day for me my auntie to get up in the morning. We wake up he’s on our minds. We lay down at night, he’s on our minds constantly. I know that having this person arrested is ultimately never going to give us peace, but it will give us some type of hope to be able to get through this situation. It’s traumatic, it was unexpected and when something like that happens you don’t know how to process or deal with it."
White said they're not going to give up until the person who did this is off the streets and they're willing to do whatever it takes to make sure justice is served. The family said they don't want this to be a case where it's swept under a rug.
"With this person out there there’s a very great chance it could happen again, and we don’t want that. We don’t want anybody else to feel this pain that we’re feeling. It’s unbearable. We’ve always been a close nit family, a tight chain and our chain has been broken, we’re hurting, and it’s not gotten easier as the days pass," White said.
Harper said she wants anyone who knows anything about the shooting to come forth because it could have been your child or your family member.