Mother on York's latest homicide: 'No parent should ... see their son like that'
Jasmin Otero learned her 19-year-old son had been shot last week and immediately rushed to his apartment in York City two blocks away.
She arrived before police and paramedics, she said.
Otero found her son, Michael N. Quinones, lying in his backyard in the 500 block of West Princess Street.
“I saw my son laying there with his eyes open, looking up at the sky,” Otero told The York Dispatch by phone, while choking back tears. “He had gray lips, he wasn’t breathing, and his brains were out on the (ground).
“No parent should have to see their son like that,” she said. “No parent should have to bury a child.”
Quinones was pronounced dead at 8:56 p.m. on June 23, according to York County Coroner Pam Gay. She said he died of multiple gunshot wounds and ruled his death a homicide, the fourth in the city this year.
York City Police said last week Quinones was targeted in the incident. No arrests had been made in the case as of Tuesday afternoon.
Family members declined comment when asked if they had any theories about who killed Quinones.
He was one of nine children, ranging in age from 9 to 30. The family moved from Reading, Berks County, to York City two years ago when the son of one of Otero's best friends was killed.
“My mother has always been a single parent, and we just moved out here from Reading to get away from all the crime and make a better life,” said Eneida Sanchez, the 24-year-old sister of Quinones. "We come here, and my brother is killed in cold blood. It’s crushing.
"My mom hasn't been able to sleep or eat. She keeps asking about Michael and when he's coming home. My 9-year-old sister cried herself to sleep last (week).”
Otero, a 45-year-old nurse, said she has juggled as many as three jobs to support her family. She also said her son’s father died before he was born.
“I was pregnant when his father passed away, so he never got a chance to meet him,” Otero said. “He grew up without a dad, but he always wanted to have his own kids so he could be a father to them.”
Sanchez said Quinones had lived at the apartment with his girlfriend and had begun to look into securing a GED high school equivalency diploma.
His mom said her son had previously spent some time in a juvenile detention center.
“Michael had some stumbles,” Otero said. “He wasn’t a perfect kid, but he had a good heart. He was really good with the younger kids and would play football and basketball with them and he would take his little baby sister out.”
Eneida Sanchez and her brother, Adam Sanchez, have both organized GoFundMe accounts to help cover Quinones’ funeral expenses. As of Wednesday afternoon, Adam Sanchez had raised $923 of a $1,000 goal and Eneida Sanchez $710 toward a $2,000 goal.
Adam Sanchez, 25, posted a tribute to his brother on his GoFundMe listing, saying he attempted to steer him away from street life.
“Even though i tried to turn you away from that life you assured me it was going to be ok,” Adam Sanchez wrote. “I wish i would've tried harder maybe you would still be here today. I love you my brother we been through a lot of hurt together you don't deserve to be gone.”
— Ron Musselman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter at @ronmusselman8.