BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Chiquita Dixon is furious.
“I don’t believe in that, ‘Stop snitching,’ ain’t no snitching, No!” She continued, “You can help Ki’Juan but you won’t.”
Her son, KiJuan Harrell, 20, was murdered in June 2018. His killer has not been caught.
"KiJuan grew up, I guess as average as any other kid. He liked sports, he played basketball from the time he was in middle school on up. He was goofy," said Dixon as she looked at the ceiling laughing, remembering her son. "He was real funny and corny, like his grandmomma, but he was a good guy."
Good to his core, Dixon said.
"I remember one time he asked me, we were talking and he said, 'Momma, would you um, would you give your life for somebody?' And I said 'Yeah.' And he looked at me and he just shook his head and he said, 'I would too.' And that's like something that I will never, ever forget. That's a scene that I play in my head, you know sometimes when I think of him, cause deep down inside he was a good guy."
She added, "That was like one of the defining moments you know for he and I that… I know I haven't done so bad, you know what I mean? Like, OK God, I did do a little something right because he has a good heart."
That conversation creeps back into her mind and nearly breaks her.
“I have to put on a different front just to make it through the day because I know I have to be a mother to my other kids, and I know they shouldn’t see me like this all the time,” said Dixon, wiping away tears. “So, every day since that night has been a struggle for me.”
Dixon is furious about the 'no snitch code' keeping her son's killer unpunished. But more than anything, she's heartbroken.
"Every minute. And it's not just one thing that reminds me of him, it's just that place in me because I brought him into this world, I nursed him, I tried to.. I planted the right seeds, I'm not going to say I tried because I planted the right seeds. And for that to just be taken, just taken, just taken away from you it does something to you."
Birmingham Police found Harrell shot and nearly dead in a car in the parking lot at Fox Valley Apartments on Valley Drive early the morning of June 23, 2018. The complex is across the street from a nightclub, and at the time of the shooting Detective Jonathan Ross said, “hundreds of young people, teenagers and adults were out.”
"I know for a fact somebody saw something," said Detective Ross, Birmingham Police Department.
Whoever that someone is is keeping quiet.
Ross investigates homicides and leads Birmingham Police’s Cold Case Unit. He has been working to find Harrell’s killer since the night he died.
He’s interviewed a handful of people but found, “they didn’t give me all the information they know, or they just didn’t want to get involved period.”
“It’s just tough to try to get people to come forward, especially the younger people, because they don’t want to be labeled what you call a ‘snitch.’”
Dixon doesn't understand.
“When they can bring so much closure and stop so much pain, and you won’t do it, that’s hurtful. I can honestly say, if the shoe were on the other foot, I don’t care none about that snitch stuff, I am talking. If I know you did something that is causing these other people pain, I don’t care, I don’t care none about that. There is no such thing as, ‘No snitching.’”
There’s just silence in Harrell’s case, and many others.
“It hurt us, these detectives trying to get these cases solved. I believe, deep down in my heart, we can solve just about every case, but we need the public’s help.”