Exclusive: Son of mother killed in Lehigh Acres tried to save her
Photo: Video by fox4now.com
CREATED Jun. 12, 2013
LEHIGH ACRES, Fla. - The son of a Lehigh Acres mom shot trying to protect his mother speaks exclusively with Fox 4.
"I kinda knew that it wasn't good," said Xavier Hernandez, 31, reflecting on Monday night, when SWAT teams surrounded his Fireside Court home in Lehigh Acres.
Hernandez says he's trying to hold it together to be strong for his family. The oldest of six, Hernandez says he was inside the house minutes before his mom, Laverne James, was shot by her former boyfriend.
"I was in my room for 10 minutes, when i heard her yell, 'What are you doing here? What are you doing here?'."
Hernandez says that's when Romie Franklin, Jr., 51, showed up unannounced for the second time that night. He says, they had broken up about a year ago but maintained a friendship. Hernandez says Franklin had been trying to make things work between them.
"I saw him grabbing on her," explained Hernandez. "So, i tried to go and get him off of her, when he turned around, he had a gun in his hand. He shot me."
In the hip while Hernandez was trying to protect her. He showed Fox 4 his wound.
"Everyone in the room was in a panic," remembered Hernandez. "So, I ripped the screen out of the window and jumped out to call the police. I'd heard my mother screaming and then I heard a second shot then it got quiet."
Hernandez was rushed to the hospital. But he says when he returned home about an hour later, that's when he realized his life had changed forever.
"When i got back, it was just crazy on the roads," said Hernandez. "All the streets were flooded with people."
He says investigators told him Franklin had taken his mom hostage before shooting himself.
"When they told me that, i knew it wasn't good," reflected Hernandez. "Because if he got shot, i knew he had killed my mother."
A mother described by her children as loving, caring and sincere.
"What are you going to remember about your mom?" asked Fox 4 reporter Gabrielle Sarann to Hernandez. "Her personality," he said with a smile. "She was a handful. We had fun always laughing. [We] made fun of each other."
James' step-daughter, Lakisha Hernandez, says she was always there for her. James inspired and encouraged her to become a nurse.
"[She was a] good person, good nurse," said Lakisha. "A great person. She will truly be missed."