Happy, goofy and peaceful.
Family members and friends used those words to describe 17-year-old Marcus Anthony Jones, who died Sunday of an apparent shooting in the 500 block of Davenport's East 13th Street.
“He wasn’t a gang-banger,” his mother, Kerri Brinkley, said Monday night. “He was into his music and he always liked to joke around. He didn’t care what other people thought about him.”
Davenport police officers were dispatched about 12:15 a.m. Sunday on a report of a person lying unresponsive in a yard from a suspected gunshot wound.
Jones was taken to Genesis Medical Center-East Rusholme Street, Davenport, where he was pronounced dead. An autopsy was performed Monday in Iowa City, but results were not available Monday night.
Dozens of friends and family members gathered Monday near the block on East 13th Street where the teenager was found to remember and honor his life. Brinkley set out photos of her son, and people placed balloons and flowers on a table next to the spot where police found Jones lying in the grass.
After sundown, a candlelight vigil was held at that spot.
“You can’t describe the feeling,” Brinkley added. “I don’t think it has hit me yet because I haven’t been by myself. I’m still waiting for him to walk through my door and come to dinner.”
Many of Jones' close friends and family members, including Brinkley, sported T-shirts bearing the teen's face.
Erica Johnson, 23, who lives at 617 E. 14th St., Davenport, said Jones had been staying at her house for about two weeks before he died.
“He always had a smile on his face,” she said. “He woke up smiling and never argued with anybody.”
Johnson said Jones left her house shortly after midnight Sunday, minutes before he was found shot, but she added that she never heard any shots fired.
“It just doesn’t add up,” she said. “He left my house and said he would be back, but then he got killed.”
Shortly after 3 p.m. Monday, two Davenport police detectives arrived at Johnson’s residence and interviewed her about the case.
Destiny Orr, 16, a junior at Davenport West High School, said she met Jones at J.B. Young Intermediate School and saw him outside on Johnson’s porch Saturday.
“It was just a ‘hi and bye,’ ” she said, adding that he seemed happy at the time. “It still doesn’t seem real. We never knew Marcus to be involved with any drama.”
Cranford Bourrage, who was sitting on his mother’s porch at 714 E. 13th St. on Monday, called Jones a “good kid in the community.”
“I always saw him playing basketball with younger kids at the park,” Bourrage added. “That boy’s too young to die. He didn’t even get to enjoy his life.”
Recalling their last conversation, Brinkley said her son discussed his future goals.
"He was talking about going to college to become a welder," she said, noting that he received his GED from an online program in July.
“We had our mother-son battles, but it was just because we were both stubborn sometimes,” she added.
Brinkley said she sent her son a Facebook message Monday morning, asking him to come and visit her in her dreams.
Fighting back tears, she said, “I told him that I’ll always love him and be there for him. I just wish we had more time.”