Family of slain man pleads for answers - CBS 3 Springfield - WSHM

Family of slain man pleads for answers

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

As Tucson Police continue to investigate the murder of 39-year old Michael James, his family is pleading for witnesses and the suspect to come forward.

James was gunned down outside VFW Post 1208 in the 2000 block of Park Avenue on the south side. Police said it happened between midnight and 1 a.m. Saturday morning. 

At 12:52 a.m., police said they responded to a call of a shooting. Police arrived to find paramedics from the Tucson Fire Department already administering aid to a male with gunshot trauma in front of the establishment.  Police said James was transported to an area hospital where he died from his injuries shortly after his arrival.

Homicide detectives were interviewing witnesses and patrons who were at the VFW post bar that night. As police continued their investigation, the family of James reached out to the media, hoping to put out a plea for justice.

James' fiancee, Laquenna Lewis, who was 8 months pregnant, said she was still numb with shock.

"I keep waiting for him to walk in through that front door," said Lewis.

She described their last day together as a great day, filled with family bonding.  Lewis said she had not been feeling well, so James cooked breakfast and lunch for her and their two boys, aged 3 and 8.  He had spent time with his children, and said he was stepping out to "get some air" that night.

Lewis said he went down the street to hang out with some friends and was supposed to be home within half an hour.  They were supposed to watch a movie together.  When he did not return, she got worried.

"I had an awful feeling.  I called him 198 times according to my phone log. I don't know how I could have called him that much in such a short time, but that's what the phone shows."

Lewis said James must have headed down to the VFW bar with his friends.  She believed he could not hear his phone due to the loud music, or that he left it in the car.

At 5 a.m., Lewis said two detectives showed up at her front door.

"He just told me Michael had passed, and I didn't believe him at all," said Lewis.  She added that they were able to identify him through tattoos and they also had his ID card with them.

Lewis broke down when she heard the news.

"He was a loving, forgiving person.  He was the one who taught me how to forgive.  I just want people to know on his behalf, and on behalf of God and myself, whoever did this we love you and we forgive you.  My biggest desire is to be able to tell you that face to face, that's all," said Lewis.

As Lewis digested the news in Tucson, more than 800 miles away, James mother got the news in Sacramento.

"I cried. I got on my knees and I cried and I just prayed. Whoever knows anything, just please do the right thing," said James' mother, Pamela Scott.

This is her second loss.  Scott said she lost her first son to a homicide in Sacramento about 12 years ago.  James was very close to his brother and took the death hard.  That was one of the reasons he left California and moved to Tucson. He wanted to get a fresh start in a new city with his family.

"It hurts. I have no kids now, but I do have grandkids to keep me going.  I wouldn't want anybody to feel my pain. It's not supposed to be like this. Your kid is supposed to out-live you. If you know anything, if you have a heart of God, if you have any sign of God in your heart, please do the right thing. It hurts to bury my son," said Scott.

Officer Brandon Tatum, a Tucson Police spokesman said detectives had tracked down some patrons who were at the VFW post 1208 on Friday night, and into the early morning hours of Saturday morning.

If you have any information about this crime, you are urged to call 911 or 88-CRIME.

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