‘My future with my little brother’s been taken’: Family of teenage homicide victim lives with loss

It’s been three weeks since 17-year-old Shay Watson was shot and killed in his Fitchburg home, and there have been very few answers as to who killed him and why.

His brother, Imani Jones, said he was traveling in Vietnam when he got a FaceTime call notifying him that his brother was dead. Ever since, he said, there have been good days and bad days for him and his mom. The three of them lived together in the home on Lyman Lane where Watson’s body was found.

Jones, 23, said he knows that getting justice for Watson and finding his killer has been on many of his family members’ minds, but that is not the most difficult part for him.

“Something that overshadows that is: My future with my little brother’s been taken away,” Jones said.

He said he feels “robbed” and “cheated” of the Christmases, Thanksgivings and milestones Watson will never get to experience.

“That’s the hardest part: to not have a little brother at your wedding anymore. Or when people ask you, ‘How many brothers do you have?’ I don’t know what to say anymore. Like, I had four. Now, I have three,” Jones said.

He remembers his brother’s love of sports, his endless games of Fortnite and his more quiet side that his friends did not usually see.

“We all have problems. He had whatever he was dealing with, and we got to see that side. And we also got to see the smiley side, the joking side, the fun side,” Jones said.

Fitchburg Police Chief Chad Brecklin said no arrests have been made in what he called a “resource-intensive” investigation into Watson’s death. He said detectives do have leads that they are following up on but are still looking for more information.

“We basically are continuing to look for assistance from the public to help us resolve this crime,” Brecklin said.

He said he does not have any information to suggest the public is in danger but asked people to remain vigilant nonetheless.

“Clearly, there are one or more people responsible for this crime who are at large,” he said.

Jones said the idea that Watson’s killer is still at large still hasn’t really sunk in as he still processing the fact that his brother isn’t in his daily life.

“The murderer — I’m a pretty strong believer in karma, and if we don’t get justice in this life, they’ll get it in the next,” Jones said.

For a man who just lost his little brother three weeks ago, he’s chosen to take a more positive perspective than many in his situation.

He said he’s looking for things to be thankful for, including the way the community has rallied around his family. He said he’s grateful his brother’s death has shown him a “new side of compassion.”

“We have to find good things. We have to find ways to smile and ways to be joyful. And if we’re not, what’s the point? Like, what’s the point of Shay dying? What’s the point of anyone living if we’re just going to be sad all the time?” he asked.

The family created a GoFundMe in hopes of raising money to offer a reward in exchange for information in the case.

Brecklin asked anyone with information to call CrimeStoppers.

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