A Texas teen was arrested on Aug. 13 in connection to the fatal shooting of Yolanda N’Gaojia, a 52-year-old U.S. Army sergeant and mother of three who was murdered in March while visiting her son’s grave, authorities say.
In a press release, the Killeen Police Department announced that 17-year-old Christian Lamar Weston has been charged with murder by the Bell County District Attorney’s Office.
Weston is being held without bond and was also arraigned on an unrelated charge of unlicensed carrying of a weapon, according to police. Prosecutors set the bond for that separate charge at $5,000.
N’Gaojia was shot and killed on March 22 while staging a balloon release at the gravesite of her son, Amir Tajai-Kineh N’Gaojia, on what would’ve marked his 22nd birthday, the woman’s cousin, Sir Lloyd Rawls, wrote on GoFundMe. She died from her wounds about two hours after being shot.
A second person, who had joined N’Gaojia at the gravesite, was also injured in the incident and was treated at the scene for non-life-threatening injuries. The individual’s identity has not been made public.
According to an online obituary, N’Gaojia son died in Killeen on New Year’s Day. He was one of three children that N’Gaojia and Kineh, her ex-husband, shared.
“We have suffered so much death and life-altering situations over the past few years and it’s hard to come up for air,” Rawls wrote on the fundraising page he created in April as officials were searching for the shooter.
“This woman was going through the biggest heartbreak of her life with burying her son and while celebrating his birthday, she was murdered just feet away from his gravesite,” he added.
In an online post, Kineh called for Weston to get the death penalty.
“I have no words because I can’t believe this is real,” he wrote in a separate post in reference to the death of his ex-wife. “This is stuff you see on movies but it has become our life. … We just lost Amir on New Year’s Day, plus our kids [were] on FaceTime watching their Mom get gunned down,” he added.