When Felicia Young-Coleman heard the gunshot that killed her 7-year-old son, she thought it was the sound of the family’s tire blowing out.
About 11 p.m. on Aug. 16, 2014, a Saturday, Young-Coleman, her husband and their three children — including young Terrez Coleman — were driving home from a family reunion along a wooded stretch of Prescott Road, no place to expect gunfire.
But the single round grazed the stomach of one of Young-Coleman’s twin daughters and then passed through Terrez’s side and heart, killing him almost instantly.
With few leads to chase and virtually no leads to point to a suspect, investigators have struggled to close in on a possible shooter or figure out why anyone might’ve fired the bullet that killed Terrez, who’d just started the second grade.
Now his mother is hoping someone will come forward with information about the shooting that might help detectives solve the case and help her piece together just how her young son died.
“I’m trusting in God that the person is going to come forward and turn themself in,” Young-Coleman said Thursday.
Since Terrez’s death, Young-Coleman said, her family has leaned heavily on God to help them pull through their grief. She said she tries to keep Terrez’s twin older sisters, now 12 years old, as busy as possible with school and church.
“We’re doing it by the grace of God,” she said.
The East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office, which is leading the investigation, says the shooter fired at the Colemans’ car from a passing vehicle, described as a light-colored sedan.
Although detectives released a blurry photo of the vehicle, they’ve so far been unable to identify the make or model.
Casey Rayborn Hicks, spokeswoman for Sheriff Sid Gautreaux, said detectives are still actively investigating the case, but a lack of witnesses or tips from the community has made solving the case extremely difficult.
“This is our only unsolved homicide for (2014), and there is nothing we would like more than to bring the person or persons responsible to justice and help bring closure to the family,” Hicks said.
Detectives weren’t able to gather DNA or blood from a possible shooter or collect physical evidence, said East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III, because there was essentially no crime scene.
But the veteran prosecutor said the apparently random slaying of such a young boy has stuck with him since the shooting. “This is one that you never forget,” he said.
“There’s no doubt in every investigator’s mind on this case is that somebody out there knows something,” Moore said. “Whether it’s the killer himself or someone else, somebody out there knows some information that could be very valuable for this case.”
In the meantime, Young-Coleman said, her family keeps praying someone might offer them clues that might lead to closure.
Crosses placed at the scene of the shooting on Prescott Road near Joor Road keep disappearing, Young-Coleman said. Perhaps the work, she said, of a shooter racked by guilt.
“It’s just got to be eating them up,” Young-Coleman said.
A $10,000 reward offered for information in the case by a private donor remains active, Young-Coleman said.
“I forgive the (shooter). I really do forgive that person,” she said. “I’m not holding grudges. I just want justice.”
Anyone with information in the case is asked to call the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office at (225) 389-5000 or to report information anonymously to Crime Stoppers at (225) 344-7867.
Follow Bryn Stole on Twitter, @BrynStole.