RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Jaquan Dixon would have been celebrating his 20th birthday Wednesday. Instead, his family and friends released balloons into the sky, honoring his life – without him.

A candlelight vigil was held Wednesday evening in honor of Dixon, the man who was fatally shot outside a McDonald’s on Forest Hill Avenue last week.

The vigil, organized by the United Communities Against Crime on behalf of Dixon’s mother, was held at the George Wythe High School, where Dixon played football.

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His mother, Dorothy Bowman, said football was his favorite sport. He also enjoyed canoeing and collecting model cars. During the prayer vigil, Bowman was overcome with emotion. Last week, 8News sat down with her one-on-one.

“He was a loving son, he was a protector, he was a motivator,” she said. “He just was incredible. He was a very smart and intelligent young man.”

She adds that Dixon was an honor roll student who loved math and had aspirations to get a degree in business.

“He wanted to be a painter. He wanted to have his own painting business and to get all of his friends off of the street and to work with him,” Dixon added.

For Dixon, his goal was to motivate others to do better and be better, according to his mother.

Now, Dixon leaves behind a 16-year-old brother, a 20-year-old sister, and a 1-year-old son.

“I love my son and he was a good person,” Bowman said.

She recalls the moment she learned her 19-year-old was shot and killed at the McDonald’s on Forest Hill Avenue.

“I can’t even tell you what went through my head,” she said. “Nothing. It was just blank. My daughter called me hollering and screaming and I couldn’t focus. I couldn’t see, I couldn’t breathe.”

Police haven’t released any additional information about the shooting incident, nor who is responsible for pulling the trigger. Dixon’s mother says she is pleading for senseless gun violence to end.

“What are we going to do about it?” she asked. “Everybody, we can go march. We can protest, we can say stop the violence, we can say Black Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter. How do Black Lives Matter when they don’t matter to us? We are hurting ourselves.”

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