St. Paul mom encourages kindness acts to honor 22-year-old son killed by gun violence

Days after Christmas, 22-year-old Alex Becker was shot dead only steps away from his mother’s home. Now, his mom is hoping to interrupt the cycle of violence in St. Paul with kindness and generosity.

For a month and a half, Tara Becker has been forced to wake up in a world without her son Alex.

"I feel like every mom says it: ‘They have the best kids.’ But it's not even that Alex was the best kid. He was the best person I've ever known," she told FOX 9.

Every day, she thinks of the moments that made up his life: moments of kindness.

"He'd buy his coworkers lunch. He would buy his brothers needless toys," Tara Becker said. 

The 22-year-old was walking home from work on Dec. 27 when he was shot and killed behind his mom's St. Paul home in the city’s North End.

"He was home. He just didn't make it inside his house," said Alex’s aunt, Hidy Hammarsten.

Two men have been charged in connection with Alex's death, the more recent happened Friday. Court documents suggested he was targeted for a robbery and then murdered. His mom was waiting up for him at the time, and to this day, she still struggles to understand why this terrible act happened.

"If these people are, in fact, the guilty parties, (I hope they) are not able to hurt anybody else because it was senseless. But nothing would make it better. Because nothing is going to bring Alex back," Tara Becker said.

Though the motive still remains unclear to her, one thing is clear: She wants something positive to come out of his death. Since then, she’s found comfort in stories of her son’s generosity. This one came from someone he used to walk past on his way to high school.

"She wrote me a letter about how every single day, he would stop and talk to her, check on her and see how she is doing," she said.

Hammarsten created a Facebook page asking people to celebrate Random Acts of Kindness Day on Feb. 17. Dozens of people have pledged kindness acts, including putting quarters in the carts at Aldi or paying for someone's coffee. Tara Becker asked that they mention Alex's name when they do these random acts.

"It's easy to be angry, and it's easy to justify doing bad things. Kindness needs more of a push for most people. It didn't for Alex but for most people," she said.

Through each random act of kindness, Alex’s family hopes to start a ripple of love.

"He's not here, but I wanted to keep that part of him in the world," Tara Becker said.