As he neared the end of his all-too-short life, 9-year-old Jayden Ugwuh (top right) climbed into the arms of the one person he knew would comfort him: his older brother, Jayson Jr., 12.
The young Kansas City, Missouri, resident and his cousin, Montell Ross, 8, were tragically killed early Saturday morning (August 11) when a group of unknown assailants opened fire into the home where Jayden, Montell, and several other relatives were sleeping. Jayson Ugwuh Sr., Jayden's father, who was working at the time of the shooting, shared his heartbreak over the tragic losses with FOX4-KC on Monday.
As relayed to him by the child with his namesake, Montell was awoken at around 1:30 in the morning after hearing the gunfire. He quickly sprinted from his bed and ran out of his room, before realizing that he that left Montell behind. After going back for him, both children were hit. Rather than cry out for help, Jayden instead made his way to Jayson Jr.'s bedroom, just as he had many times before, and laid next to him.
"[He] didn't even cry," the elder Jayson remarked. "[He] just got hit and ran and laid up under his big brother, you know. Like he knew exactly where to go for comfort, you know what I'm saying?"Jayson Jr., who was also awake at this point, said that Jayden then snuggled next to him. When he glanced down at his sibling, he noticed that Jayden's eyes were open, but there was no sign of life left. He died shortly thereafter.
"I got to deal with that [loss] and still raise [Jayson Jr.]," Ugwuh sullenly expressed, "but what can I say to him, [knowing that] he actually held him, he held his cold body. How do I teach my son to cope with that when I can barely cope with it myself?"
To make the matter all the more painful, Jayson Sr. says that Jayden didn't actually want to be there that night. He had called his father at work to asked to be picked up and taken over to his house. However, because of an early shift the next morning, Jayson Sr. told him he had to stay put.
"I feel like I put my job before him, and I'm going to regret that for the rest of my life," Ugwuh added.Jayson Sr. remembered Jayden as being a good son who often looked up to him for fatherly advice and love. He recalled telling his child to be mindful of the money he made from helping out at the barber shop Jayson Sr. worked for, and he was surprised when Jayden once showed him the $175 he had collected up to that point.
"[When] he pulled out [the money] that he saved, I cried," Ugwuh recalled, "because [he was] listening to me."
He also said that young Jayden was a fan of hip-hop music, believed in comic book superheroes, such as Superman, and dreamed of being able to fly like "the man from Krypton." He also was a talented artist, often creating younger caricatures of loved ones.
"He [could] draw," Jayson Sr. beamed. "He [could] draw you right now and it would look just like you, at 9 years old."
Understandably, the pain of losing Jayden is extremely fresh to both Jaysons. The 12-year-old couldn't even speak to reporters during their sit down, and his father couldn't stop relating to his deceased son as if he were still alive.
"He's not even gone to me," Ugwuh expressed. "It's still not real, it's fresh. I can't talk about him as if he's gone. I don't think I'll ever be able to do that."
Kansas City law enforcement has asked anyone who has information on the shooting deaths of Jayden Ugwuh and Montell Ross to call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-8477.
[Image via Shutterstock]