Antonio Lucas Jr. told his youngest sister he would come to Henderson to celebrate her birthday.
The part-time Las Vegas resident spent most of the school year living in Henderson, helping his sister and other siblings get ready for school every day. He sat with her during movie nights in their dad’s home, and he drove her around when her parents could not.
Lucas’ stepmother, Tamika Williams-Lucas, said their 9-year-old refused to celebrate her birthday after Lucas’ passing. On Sept. 10, she and her husband waited outside Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center for three and a half hours before police told her he was dead.
“He basically died lonely,” she said through tears. “He already got shot, but he was left by himself. He died by himself. He died while we were outside. We could have had time to tell him it’s OK.”
Hodges told police he was throwing away clothes at the gas station when he was shot and wounded. But his story did not match video surveillance from the gas station, according to an arrest report from the Metropolitan Police Department.
Officers wrote that Hodges handed the trash bag full of clothes to Lucas and then shot him, according to the video. Another man with Lucas shot Hodges, who was later arrested at the hospital, and the third man ran off. It was not clear what prompted the shooting.
Williams-Lucas said she did not know Hodges or the other man who opened fire. She did not know why her stepson was at a Circle K 18 miles from their house. He was mostly a homebody who prioritized his large family over going out. Lucas was considering opening his own business one day, or perhaps going into construction.
Lucas was the oldest of 11 children, including six siblings who lived at his dad’s house. He was working with Williams-Lucas, advertising her tax services and hair braiding business, and he helped get the younger kids ready for school in the morning.
“He was a loving brother,” she said. “He made sure the kids were well-taken care of, helping us with everything.”
Lucas, a Sierra Vista High School graduate, would have turned 25 this week. His family had planned to go to a park in Henderson with about 50 relatives to celebrate. They would have barbecued, his stepmother said.
Instead, the family will host a candlelight vigil near their house Friday remembering Lucas. They have set up an online fundraiser to help pay for more than $30,000 in burial and shipping costs to bury Lucas with his family in California.
Hodges was charged with murder Monday and is expected to appear in court again Oct. 2 for a preliminary hearing. Williams-Lucas said she planned to attend every hearing.
“I’ve cried so much my tear ducts dried up and I had to go to the hospital,” she said on her way to Hodges’ initial arraignment Monday morning. “I can’t keep crying. I couldn’t see for two days. Now it’s time for justice.”