Gwinnett County

‘I love you, Mom:’ Mother of teen killed near Gwinnett high school recalls last moments with him

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — The mother of a Gwinnett County high school student shot and killed near campus Wednesday says she is looking for answers.

DeAndre Henderson, 17, was shot and killed near Norcross High School around noon on Wednesday, according to Gwinnett County police. No one has been arrested.

“It’s painful because it’s my child,” said Kimberly Parks, Henderson’s mother. “He was my hero, and today is my first morning waking up without him.”

Police have not released a motive for the shooting. Parks told Channel 2′s Matt Johnson she’s been told that her son was lured off campus to fight someone. During the fight, she says, the other person involved in the fight pulled out a gun.

“DeAndre, I guess, was getting the best of him,” Parks said, “and he didn’t like it, so he shot my son.”

[DOWNLOAD: Free WSB-TV News app for alerts as news breaks]

Police say the shooting happened in a cut through area between campus and parts of Technology Parkway.

Students saw extra police officers on campus Thursday because of the deadly shooting. The principal notified parents Wednesday evening about the shooting and assured parents that students were safe.

For Parks, her son isn’t coming home, and she wonders how it happened so quickly.

“I dropped him off that morning and the last thing he said to me was, ‘I love you, Mom’ and gave me a kiss.”


Superintendent Dr. Calvin Watts addressed parents in a recorded statement Wednesday evening and said he would be working with the community to address violence affecting students.

In a statement Thursday, School Board Chairwoman Dr. Tarece Johnson said:

“I give my condolences to the families of the children who died from violence.

We are deeply saddened by the tragedies and will continue to work together as a governance team to help eradicate violence in our schools and communities. Our priority is to ensure the safety (physical & emotional) and security of each and every child.

I believe community engagement, strict gun laws, anti-bullying & anti-hate programs, mental healthcare, economic & housing stability, and wrap around services are all important to help eliminate violence, thus improving the quality of life for everyone.

My hope is for legislators, community organizations, school boards & systems, subject matter experts, caregivers, educators, and students to intentionally collaborate to end school and community violence.

Each and every child matters and I will do all I can to put them first and help make a difference in their lives.”

[SIGN UP: WSB-TV Daily Headlines Newsletter]