By Gilma Avalos

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Jose Cruz was scheduled to graduate in January. His proud mother stated that he was working part-time and had purchased his own cap and gown with his earnings. “He was a very responsible young man,” Melissa Flores said. “He was an extraordinary child, the gift that everybody would want.”

But, on Christmas night, that gift was abruptly taken from Flores.

After spending the holiday with his family, loved ones explained that the 19-year-old man went out to visit a friend. He never made it back home.

Less than an hour after heading out, Cruz’s car crashed into a parked truck in the 2100 block of West Amherst Avenue. Police in Dallas responded to the scene and investigators soon realized that the teen had been shot. He died at a nearby hospital.

“I still don’t believe it,” Flores said Wednesday night through tears. “I still think I’m going to hear him coming down the street, or he’ll walk in through the door.”

Investigators believe that Cruz was shot before getting into his vehicle, the family stated. It is likely that he was trying to drive away to safety.

At a vigil on Wednesday night, those closest to Cruz released balloons in his honor. Many in the crowd were unable to contain their emotions. The community that saw Cruz grow up is now mourning.

Cruz’s loved ones said that they are stunned, and struggling to understand why anybody would want to hurt him. “My son, he was always joyful. He was never fighting with nobody,” added Jose Cruz Sr. at the Wednesday vigil.

Now, instead of seeing their son walk across the stage to accept his high school diploma, this family is begging for justice. “Put yourself in a mother’s spot and know that we just want closure,” Flores said.

Anyone with information on the teen’s death is asked to contact Det. Jacob White by email at or by phone at 214-671-3690.