LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Nearly two years after her son was shot and killed, a mother is calling for justice in the 19-year-old’s death.
“He was such a good boy,” Johanna Velez said of her son.
It’s been a year and a half since Velez has seen James Lepe, who she described as a gentle, respectful soul with a bright future ahead of him, that he never got to see through.
“Every day I think about my son,” Velez said. “When I wake up when I go to sleep.”
According to police, the 19-year-old was shot in the chest and killed in December 2020 during a confrontation with his sister’s boyfriend at an apartment complex near Tropicana Avenue and Decatur Boulevard.
“It is a parent’s worst nightmare,” Velez said of her son’s death. “It’s the worst thing I’ll ever go through, and it forever haunts me.”
Velez told 8 News Now this all stemmed from a domestic violence situation her son was trying to stop, and she believes it could have been prevented.
“I hope any woman that goes through this has the courage to walk away,” Velez said, speaking to others in domestic violence situations. “Because things like this can’t be undone.”
However, more than anything, after all this time, she’s still hoping for justice, as she told 8 News Now no charges were filed in her son’s death.
“I’ll never get to be the same person that I was,” she said, speaking through emotion. “I lost the most important thing in my life.”
This way, she said she and her family can move forward and begin to heal with some semblance of closure.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better son.” Velez concluded. “And I lost him.”
According to court records, the man Velez said is connected to her son’s death faced several domestic battery charges in July 2021.