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Family and friends react to 11-year-old killed in NE Harris County shooting

Investigators say "DJ" Dugas may have been retrieving something from a car when he was shot and killed.

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas — Crime scene tape has yet to come down at an apartment complex reeling from a life lost too soon.

"Literally, this is very shocking,” neighbor Arricka Watson said. "It's mind-blowing."

Watson said she heard gunfire from her balcony around 7 p.m. Thursday night at The Vireo apartments on Tidwell Road near C E King Parkway.

She stepped out to find an 11-year-old neighbor, identified as Darius Dugas, lying on the ground near his inconsolable mother.

"Man, she was just torn up and I was torn up, too, because I know him and I live here," Watson said. "I feel unsafe.”

The Harris County Sheriff’s Office said Dugas may have been retrieving something from a car when he was shot.

Detectives returned to the scene Friday as friends and family left stuffed animals, flowers, balloons and other items in his memory.

Dugas' family has set up a GoFundMe page to help his mother with burial expenses.

"It’s just unnecessary, it’s just senseless," neighbor Sharde Williams said. "You took somebody’s baby away from them, somebody’s baby brother.”

Williams lives next door to the family and shared a photo of Dugas, known as ”DJ,” from when she babysat his pet iguana.

"Friendly kid. Takes my trash out. Always looking to help ... speaking 'yes ma’am,'” Williams said. "Even if he was hanging with rough kids, he would be the one that stood out.”

We spoke with DJ's mother, Brenetta Francis, who said she is having a hard time processing what happened.

"He was beautiful inside and out," she said about her son.

A possible motive remains under investigation as the search for a suspect continues.

He's described only as a young man wearing a white shirt and black sweatpants who jumped over a fence after allegedly shooting the 11-year-old.

Credit: Family

"He wouldn’t have been in anything he shouldn’t have been in," Watson said. "He was a kid ... bottom line, he was a kid."

We're told DJ attended 6th grade at a nearby school in Galena Park ISD.

You can contact the sheriff’s office at 713-221-6000 or Crime-Stoppers at 713-222-8477 with any information.

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