Darrell Boyce, a Texas pastor and anti-violence activist, openly praised God for “such a blessing” Friday after law enforcement officials announced the arrest of a suspect in the March 31 murder of his 19-year-old son in a parking lot.
Police in San Antonio said the pastor’s son, Avante Boyce, who was also a father of two, died after being shot multiple times on the afternoon of March 31 in the parking lot of the East Meadows Complex.
The shooting followed an argument with a 56-year-old gang member. Avante Boyce collapsed while trying to escape.
After the murder, police issued an arrested warrant for Vernon “Keno” Dixon, who they described as a documented “Blood” gang member.
The San Antonio Police Department said Dixon, who had been on the run since the murder, was taken into custody by the U.S. Marshals Service in Wichita, Kansas, KSAT reported.
As news of the arrest spread, Boyce revealed on Facebook that the arrest had reopened “a wound that hasn’t fully healed yet” and “probably never will.” But he was grateful for the work of law enforcement officials who made the arrest.
“Our only statement is that we are so appreciative of all of the hard work that law enforcement put into capturing this individual,” Boyce wrote. “Our family is still hurt and grieving but this is such a blessing. Our family is so thankful. There’s more than one family hurting right now so we ask that you continue to pray for us.”
Just hours after his son’s murder, Boyce, the pastor of Deliverance Community Church, called his killer a coward.
“To the COWARD that took his life and anyone involved, I pray that God’s justice be upon you. This is my only biological child. He has 2 sons of his own who will never be able to see him again. You are a COWARD. QUIT RUNNING TURN YOURSELVES IN!!!!” he wrote in a Facebook post.
Less than three years ago, when he was 17, Avante Boyce narrowly missed being killed as he headed to a local basketball court to play with friends, according to KENS 5. Pastor Boyce told the news outlet that Avante was on his way to play basketball with his best friend when he heard gunshots. He later found his friend shot in the chest.
“I just hate for any child to see what my son saw yesterday, his best friend laying dead on the ground,” Boyce said at the time. “He actually went and took his shirt off and tried to stop the bleeding.”
The grieving pastor urged parents to tell their children how much they love them.
“One of the things parents should be doing is, one, telling their kids that they love them. Two, hugging their kids as much as possible. And three, letting their kids know, ‘hey, you’re still alive. You have to live after this traumatic thing that just happened in front of you,'” Boyce said. “You have to let your kids know you have their back 100% of the time and point the kids in the right direction.”