Mother of Longs teen shot and killed speaks one year after tragedy

Mother of Longs teen shot and killed speaks one year after tragedy
Rodrez Stanley was indicted in February for the May 2015 death of a Longs teen. (Source: JRLDC)
Rodrez Stanley was indicted in February for the May 2015 death of a Longs teen. (Source: JRLDC)

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - It was a violent death that shook the Longs community.

Taizaun Dewitt, 14, was shot and killed at a home in Longs in May 2015. Now, one year later, his mother is using her son's story to help others.

Kissie Melvin said she can't focus on the grief because there is nothing she can do to bring her son back. Still, she has found purpose through his death.

"I have three children so that means I have three heartbeats," she said. "On that day, I lost one of my heartbeats and ever since that day, my heartbeat hasn't been the same." .

Melvin described the past year as overwhelming sadness, as she has tried to hold onto the memories of her son.

"After Taizaun's death the main thing was how are we to go on with life. What was the next thing to do?" she said.

The grieving mother has found comfort in sharing her son's story, even starting to write a book about him.

"Let's go out there and tell Taizaun's story, share his memories and tell people the story of what happened to us so that maybe we can help other families," she said, with Taizaun's father, Truman by her side for support. "If it can happen to little Taizaun, it can happen to anybody."

Melvin is also an advocate against violence as a part of the South Carolina Mothers Against Violence.

"We will go be with other grieving mothers that are going through what we've been through," she said.

She said she is disappointed to see there has not been much change in the communities when it comes to violence since her son's death.

"Those of us who are within the communities, we need to act ourselves. It is our responsibility to do this for our children," Melvin said.

She believes young people today have no regard for life, and she firmly feels something needs to be done about the violence.

"We have young children that (are as) young as Taizaun that are carrying guns (and) they have gang affiliations," she said.

On May 1,  2015, Taizaun Dewitt was shot while visiting a home on Collins Circle in Longs.

The teen was living with his father in the are at the time, and had visited the home before. That night had a different ending.

Melvin described her son as a young man who loved to laugh and live life.

In February 2016, Rodrez Daquell Stanley was indicted by a Horry County grand jury for Dewitt's murder. He remains in jail on a $75,000 bond.

A trial date has not been set.

Melvin said she will not have peace until she finds out what exactly happened to her son.

"Honestly, I don't believe Mr. Stanley acted alone, but that's neither here nor there," she said.

Her mission now to honor her son, who would have turned 16 on June 29, is to tell young children to be aware of their surroundings and ask their parents' permission before going somewhere.

"Listen to your parents, because those very things could be your saving grace, Melvin said."

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