HOUSTON - Family and friends are celebrating the birthday of the little boy who was fatally stabbed walking home from school earlier this year.
August 10 would have been Josue Flores’ 12th birthday.
Family members started the celebration at his grave at the Hollywood Cemetery on Wednesday.
“It’s bittersweet. We wish he was here. But still, that’s not an excuse for us not to do something for him,” said Juan Flores, Josue’s older brother.
Josue's sister, Guadalupe, said the community coming together is the only thing that makes her feel better during this incredibly difficult time.
Members of the Northside community organized a vigil for Josue Wednesday evening. It was held at the spot where Josue he was attacked in May.
A homeless veteran, Andre Jackson, was charged with Flores’ murder.
Three months later, neighbors wonder if something like that could happen again.
“We worry about the kids. A lot of students walk. We’re trying to do something like – if we’re living over here – somebody will watch the kids walking,” said Rosie Lopez, a neighbor.
The nearby Salvation Army shelter, where Jackson stayed, tightened its rules as a result of the murder.
As of May 23, men staying at the Red Shield Lodge homeless emergency center were no longer asked to leave. Unless they have a job or an appointment to go to, men were required to remain on the property in order to be connected to programs and services.
A spokesperson for the Salvation Army said the changes were made so the community knows any man out on the streets is not a client being served by the Harbor Light Center and Red Shield Lodge.
People who live in Northside said they have noticed a difference in the homeless and police presence in the area.
“Yes, we’ve had a lot of police. The police are doing a great job. Great, great job,” said Lopez.
“I’ve definitely seen a lot more police patrolling. A lot less homeless people walking around,” said Flores.
Loved ones said the loss is something they’ll never fully recover from, but it has made the community stronger.
“I feel good knowing that things are changing. Things are progressing in a positive way. I’m confident something like this will never happen again,” said Flores.