Mother of slain 14-year-old says ‘the streets came to him and his room’

ST. LOUIS – A family is in shock after a 14-year-old boy was shot and killed inside his own home Wednesday.

“I can’t say the streets took him. The streets came to him and his room,” said Joletta Hellems, mother of Oscar Johnson III.

Hellems said Oscar knew the suspect, a 13-year-old boy, for a couple of years. She recently talked with the boy to try and put a stop to hurtful comments he was making about her son online.

“And the police called me last night, he said, ‘We caught the boy that shot your son and he confessed that he did it.’ He said they were supposed to be swapping an iPhone for a gun,” Hellems said. “My son had an iPhone. (The 13-year-old) was supposed to get Oscar the gun for the iPhone and the police said…he just came down there to rob him.”

Oscar’s family said he loved basketball and joking around with his mom and his sisters. His oldest sister, Cornice Brandon, tried to help when she saw Oscar collapse and realized he'd been shot. She doesn’t want to see another life cut short by this violence.

“All these little kids out here are doing negative things when you should all be thinking about school! What you’re all going to do in the future, what you all want to be in future! What do you want to worry about a gun for? Why do you want to worry about stealing things? That`s not good for yourself," she said.

“You’ve got to make time for your kids because they need you,” Hellems said. “You never know where their mind is going or what they’re on.”