Florence Watkins was struggling on Saturday, trying to process the death of her son.
"I just lost the battle," she said, shaking her head and describing her efforts to keep her son away from a rougher crowd of friends. "They [children] be what they want to be."
Her son, 19-year-old Montrese Moore, was killed in a shooting Friday night in a gas station parking lot in central Toledo.
Police say they believe the shooting may be gang-related and are still investigating.
Moore died at Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center a short time after the 8:33 p.m. shooting.
The Lucas County Coroner's office said Moore died of a single gunshot wound to the chest.
Moore's killing is the sixth homicide in Toledo so far this year and the third in a week.
Killed within the same week were Ed R. Taylor III, 27, of Toledo in a shooting and Tiffany Wilborn, 23, who was stabbed.
Police said Moore and two others, Creonna Ballard, 18, and Robee Ware, 19, were shot at 1530 Cherry St.
The conditions of the other victims were unavailable, but police said both were expected to survive.
According to authorities, the victims were in the Gas & Go parking lot at Cherry and Bancroft streets when "a vehicle pulled in and stopped. The occupants spoke with one victim and then opened fire."
Ms. Watkins said her son had grown up mostly in Toledo's North End, attending Rogers High School.
He had a girlfriend and planned to attend barber school, she said, standing on the stoop at her home in southwest Toledo.
Although she had moved her family from North Toledo to her Hunters Trail Drive home six years ago, she said, her son continued to hang out with many of his friends and family from the North End.
Lucas County Common Pleas Court and Toledo Municipal Court records show that in August Moore pleaded no contest and was found guilty of attempt to commit receiving stolen property after a May 28 crash of a stolen car he was driving.
In February, an arrest warrant was issued for Moore's alleged failure to attend outpatient sessions at the Correctional Treatment Facility on Jefferson Avenue that were part of his probation.
With tears in her eyes, Ms. Watkins said, "I'm fighting a whole crowd.
"I'm constantly fighting and [the] streets won."
Ms. Watkins said she had spoken to her son on Friday afternoon about 4, hours before he was fatally shot.
"I said to him, 'What did I tell you about keeping your hair cut?' I was constantly after him about grooming."
She said her son told her he would be hanging out with a female friend, and Ms. Watkins said she wasn't as concerned as she would have been if he were with a male group.
"I was OK with that because he was with a girl. And that was the last time I saw him."
Contact Kate Giammarise at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6091.
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