Tears for DJ

I don’t cry a lot. I never have. But I’ve been crying for days and I can’t seem to stop. My husbands’ teenage cousin was shot and killed during a domestic violence dispute on April 22, 2012. The label domestic dispute doesn’t seem to do this incident justice. It was a hostage situation, and he sacrificed his life for his mom’s. His murderer was her ex-boyfriend.

Derwin Watts, Jr. also known as DJ was a star athlete and an honor roll student. He was tall with a thin build and a quirky sense of humor. I got to know DJ early in my relationship with my husband because he was one year younger than my baby brother. They visited us together during the summer. I know his laugh, I know his temperament and I know he loved his mother. I know for a fact, he was a good kid with a bright future.  I know his accuser and I love his mother.

I will not pretend to know all the details of that horrible evening but according to Wavy TV-10 what we do know is that the ex-boyfriend entered my cousin’s home uninvited late at night and used furniture to barricade them in before they knew he was inside. He then waited for his first victim to enter the hallway on his way to the restroom and shot him in the chest. In a fumbled attempt to get away, the perpetrator aimed the gun at DJ’s mother and he jumped in front of her to protect her and was shot. He died a short time later at a nearby hospital.

So my heart hurts. It’s heavy with grief and sorrow and I can’t seem to stop crying. A Chocolate Mother has lost a son and I am sorry.  DJ wasn’t the only one killed that night. His mothers’ friend Michael Temple also died. I am sure the specific facts of this case will continue to unravel, but one thing we know is that domestic violence is to blame.  This is the second family member within a year to lose their life in a domestic dispute. On August 4, 2011, our cousin DeAnna Bazemore, was also tragically killed.

Domestic violence is a sensitive subject with me. My father was a physically abusive alcoholic for years. And although my parents finally divorced and my daddy has been sober for over 20 years, I am still haunted by the ghost of my domestic violence past that once landed us in a battered women’s shelter. I am all too familiar with the fear and anxiety of going home after school and the bruises and the fights that become second nature. And according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence I am not alone, one in four women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime.

Statistically I was twice as likely as those that didn’t share my experience to end up in an abusive relationship. I was plagued by fear that I would end up continuing the cycle and was determined to rise above it. And I did, and yet incidence like what happened to DJ continue to rub off the scabs that cover my old scars.

And so I continue to cry. I shed tears for the life of a young man that didn’t deserve to die. My eyes water for a mother who has lost a child. I cry for a family that may never overcome the wounds caused by domestic violence and I cringe at the thought of a vicious cycle continuing to take root.

During my daughter’s bedtime prayer she asked God to give DJ a “BIG” pair of wings. I trust her request will be granted and I know he’s one of the brightest stars in the sky. Rest in Peace little cousin and may your demise not be in vain.

If you are a victim of domestic violence and ready for help, the National Domestic Violence Hotline is 1-800-799-7233.



11 thoughts on “Tears for DJ

  1. Thank you for sharing your personal story as well as your family story with us…it explains (at least to me) the strong spirit that I sense from you and your posts….It seems that you have stopped the cycle of not healthy relationships for your kids….so do not fear, because often what you fear, you create…again, thank you and I will continue to pray for not just healing and comfort for you family, but also that the cycle of unhealthy relationships will be broken…take care…


  2. Thank you for sharing your story…my Daughter is Miss California Black International 2012 and her platform is Domestic Violence…i too am a witness to such as my father used to abuse my mom and several years ago i lost an aunt to the same…

  3. Cuz its sad to read and here that another young soul has ben cut short.this let’s me know that God’s word is being for filled daily andeven though he gave the young man D.J. to his mom as a perious gift from heaven.once I came into the full understanding of Christ Jesus I’ve learned and sttill learning that we all r on borrow time and our heavenly father neededD.J. more then this world ever know.I’m not wanting to sound mean but looking at it as a Christian God makes no mistakes when he calls us home we are here only for a lilttle while.we all r on borrowed time,yes its is a that’s full of sorrow by once again I must say please don’t take this wrong but when our young brother n Christ heard our heavenly father call his name,young D.J. was obedient and he answered his heavenly father.Our heavenly father seen fit to call him home.so nlets continue to pray for the strength of the family cause now the healing well begin at one point,its not an easy road cause on every turn I’m sure D.J. will b at a cross road smileing,at this time his. Mom needs all prayers for strength just to get thru daily,I shall keep her n my prayers daily.Lord only u no the reason u called D.J. back home I pray that this family find comfort, and peace n there hearts and minds no words can bring him back, he shall live in n there hearts and minds.and cuz ther will b days tht your eyes will fill up with tears for D.J. again your healing is begining Cause D.J. is gone but never forgotten just look God gave u a time and a season to get to know one of his children thru your union of marriage D.J. live thru your memiories.prayer shall change thing n a mighty way.sending prayers daily to your extended family cuz I’M ASKING god to easy the pain n your heart so u can continue to do what he wants of u as a loving person who has unconditionnal love for others even when something like this happens we can’t afford to have or let hatered take root and grow

    • Thanks family. As Christians we are “taught” that we have our children on loan from God and I often remind Morgan of that everyday, but no parent is ever prepared to deal with such a loss no matter how many times you say it. I can’t begin to imagine his mom’s pain. At his funeral people kept saying God needed him more and God makes no mistakes and while my faith won’t allow me to question, it was of no comfort to me to hear those words, at least not now. I am however grateful for having met such a young man, that in itself was a Blessing.

  4. Dear Chocolatemother: My heart goes out to you and your family. I cry with you knowing life is so precious and so unfair. Prayer and your trust in God and family will see you through this horrible situation. Love.

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