“Our home is not a home anymore,” said Pritchett-Hughes, who spends much of her time visiting with her daughter in San Bernardino County.
DeAndre Hughes, 30, was shot while standing outside their home on the evening of July 2016. A suspect was charged in the case in 2018 but the charges were later dropped and the case remains unsolved.
But Pritchett-Hughes still holds out hope.
On Thursday, the city of Los Angeles announced a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the person responsible for Hughes’ death. A spokesperson for Councilman Joe Buscaino’s office, who represents the district, said the Los Angeles Police Department requested a reward offering last November.
“I know somebody knows something,” Pritchett-Hughes said, recounting how her son worked at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center for nine years as an environmental services technician.
After he died, she learned her son, who she described as caring and loving, often gave money, food and clothes to a homeless person who lived at the nearby Magic Johnson Park.
She and her family are hoping the reward will lead to a break in the case after all these years.
“Please, give us justice,” said Mardel Evans, Hughes’ aunt.
It wasn’t the family’s first loss. Pritchett-Hughes’ youngest son, Dovon Harris, was shot and killed in June 2007. The 15-year-old Centennial High School student was shot while getting off a bus on his way home from an after-school event.
Pritchett-Hughes said she never thought she would have to experience such pain again. She often visits her sons’ graves at Inglewood Cemetery.
“I can talk to them, but they can’t talk back,” she said Thursday outside the LAPD’s community station on West 108th Street. “I can celebrate their birthdays, but they can’t celebrate them.”
Pritchett-Hughes is a member of the group Justice For Murdered Children, which offers support to parents whose loved ones were killed by gun violence. Several members have rallied to her side.
Emma Rivas, whose 25-year-old son, Christopher Beasley, was shot and killed at their Torrance home in 2016, said, “Our children were healthy and thriving …and [someone] took them away.”
She added, “We’re coming for you.”
LaWanda Hawkins, whose 19-year-old son, Reginald Reese, was shot and killed in San Pedro in 1995, said theirs is a group no mother wants to be part of.
“Why is it allowed that Black and brown people are killed every day in these communities and everybody acts like it’s so normal?” Hawkins asked. “In a way, the blame lays with everyone. We all play a role in it.”
The grief is all-consuming for these mothers. Pritchett-Hughes said all she can do is hope that someone will step forward with information about her son’s killer and help bring some closure for her family. Her daughter, Dwaina Hughes, said her mother’s perseverance is an example of her extraordinary strength.
“My mom is my superhero,” Hughes said. “That’s honestly where I get my strength. I wonder, if she can endure all of that, losing her two sons, then it’s going to be possible for me. I know I can and will be all right.”
Anyone with information is encouraged to call South Bureau Homicide Det. Roger Fontes at (323) 786-5100 or Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS.