While holding flickering candles, grieving family and friends of slain teen Malcolm Jefferson celebrated his life and pleaded for information about who killed him on his 18th birthday.
They told stories about Jefferson’s generosity, big heart and willingness to help where needed. He was described as a great cook who loved working on cars. He planned to attend Trident Technical College to study auto mechanics.
“That child lived and breathed cars,” said Monica Jefferson, his mother. She wore a sweatshirt that had pictures on it of her son dressed up for the high school prom and wearing his cap and gown at graduation.
Organizers of the Saturday night vigil said they wanted to turn a media spotlight on the crime in hopes of someone coming forward with a tip that will lead to the arrest of the perpetrator.
During the event, Monica Jefferson wept and rested her head against her sister Stacey Murray’s shoulder. But when she spoke, Malcolm Jefferson’s mother became angry and said she would not rest until her son’s killer is brought to justice.
“I cannot see how you go to bed each night knowing what you have done to an innocent child,” she said.
More than 100 people, including clergy and police, were present during the vigil held on a tennis court at Forest Park Playground. Monica Jefferson praised the work of police but said somebody out there knows who killed her son.
“Please come forth. I beg of you. Please come forth on behalf of my baby,” she said.
Jefferson was gunned down on Oct. 8 as he stood outside a home on Forbes Avenue. He ran inside to flee the gunfire and alerted a group of people who were playing cards there. When officers arrived they found Jefferson lying in a shed. He later died from his wounds at Medical University Hospital, police said.
“They left us with a broken heart. I can’t have closure for my child until I know that person has been brought to justice,” Monica Jefferson said.
Malcolm Jefferson Sr. said he and his son had a close relationship and they were restoring a 1964 Cadillac. He talked about how his son found a solution to wiring issues with the old car.
“He was an innovator and he was inquisitive. He was not a troubled kid. He was a well-loved kid. I would like the answer to this senseless act,” he said.
Some speakers at the vigil called for a non-violent response to the situation. “No retaliation. No revenge. Because none of that is going to bring Malcolm back,” Clinton McPherson said.
Jefferson graduated from West Ashley High School in June. Murray described the last thing he tweeted an hour or two before he died. “I live every day to make my momma and daddy proud of me.” She said Jefferson was an “innocent child” who was never in trouble with the law.
“He was a great kid with a big heart. He would do anything for anybody,” said his grandmother, Margie Smalls. She said Jefferson was taking someone to the area where he was shot. “He doesn’t hang out in that area,” she said.
Anyone with information on Jefferson’s death can call Charleston police at 607-6787 or Crime Stoppers at 554-1111