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A mother's grief: Shooting victim's mom says he had a zest for life and helping others

A mother's grief: Shooting victim's mom says he had a zest for life and helping others
Clarenda Alston said faith is what guided her son Javon Brown through life. (Photo credit: Clarenda Alston)

Family members of one person killed in an Asheville shooting earlier this month are talking about how they want him to be remembered.

Javon Brown was found shot in a parking lot in the 500 block of Merrimon Avenue on May 8. He and Deonte Ellison died from their injuries.

Brown's mother Clarenda Alston said she spent that Friday with her son before he left for the evening.

"My phone rang, so I picked it up and it was his face and his ringtone," Alston said.

Brown's girlfriend was on the other end with the news that no parent ever wants to hear - her son had been shot.

"Immediately, I started praying," Alston.

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Alston said at first she didn't want to believe the news that her son was dead.

"As time went on and I talk to God more and more, and have more and more quiet time, he worked in my heart and let me know that he’s with me," Alston said.

She said that faith is also what guided Brown through life.

"He loved God, so, therefore, he loved life and people," Alston said.

Alston said Brown found faith when he was young, and it gave him energy, so much so that he wanted to share it with others.

"He was always taking people to church, whether I had room or not. He would ask, 'Look, can my mama at least take the church van?'" Alston said of her son.

As Brown got older, he stayed involved with the church to continue his outreach. He was even in plays put on by the church.

In the weeks since her son's death, Alston has heard from those he knew, including one of his friends who credits Brown for saving his life.

"He was actually about to commit suicide, and my son left him a message letting him know that this is not what life is about and there’s always a bright side, just look for it," Alston said.

While he had a zest for life and helping others, Brown also found another passion in the kitchen.

"We had a few cook offs, and I decided that 'Javon, you cook since you have proved to me that you’re the better cook, now you’re responsible for all the cooking,' which he didn’t mind," Alston said.

She said faith has helped her navigate this tough time.

"I know when he took his last breath he was in the arms of God. I know that," Alston said.

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