Mom mourns teenage son killed in Minneapolis New Year's Eve shooting

Santana Jackson, 15, was shot and killed while walking in Minneapolis' Hawthorne neighborhood on Friday, Dec. 31. 

Lashunda Wheeler ended 2021 living out her worst nightmare, losing her only son to the gun violence that has plagued Minneapolis. 

She told FOX 9 it was her biggest fear. 

"I watched the news and read the articles. And I used to always sit and wonder, would my son be next?" Wheeler said. 

Her son, 15-year-old Santana Jackson, was the 95th and, at the moment, final murder victim of 2021 in Minneapolis.

Jackson and a 16-year-old boy were walking along the 2400 block of Dupont Avenue North around 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 31 when gunfire "erupted from a vehicle," according to police. 

Jackson died at the scene from multiple gunshot wounds, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner confirmed. The 16-year-old was injured, but is expected to survive. 

Santana Jackson Minneapolis homicide victim

Fifteen-year-old Santana Jackson (left) is, at this moment, the 95th and final Minneapolis homicide victim of 2021.  (FOX 9)

Wheeler rushed to the scene after first being directed to the hospital. There, she saw Jackson, the oldest of three children and her only son. She was told he had no shoes on when he was found. 

Wheeler had vowed her son, who loved football and basketball, would not be a statistic. 

"I never thought that Christmas come, that would be the last time I would see my son on Christmas. Was that god telling me, was that the last time? Him walking in, me sitting at the table and him hugging me, telling me he’d be right back?"

On Monday, Wheeler returned to the scene with friends and loved ones for a memorial, haunted by several questions. 

"Why? What did he do? What did he do to you?" she asked. "I don’t care what my son out here doing. I don’t care. That’s still my baby. Still my baby. I don’t care. He’s still my child." 

Police said the suspects left the scene of the shooting before officers arrived. The shooting remains under investigation.