‘The devil’s work’: Young father fatally shot in front of kids at Gwinnett home

Jonathan Wiley, who was fatally shot Saturday morning at his Gwinnett County home, was a father of three.

Credit: Family photo

Credit: Family photo

Jonathan Wiley, who was fatally shot Saturday morning at his Gwinnett County home, was a father of three.

In a quiet Gwinnett County neighborhood, a mother awoke to gunshots.

Jessica Holsey ran downstairs to her son’s room that he shared with his girlfriend and three children. All she saw was blood.

At that point, she said she knew he was already dead. All she could do was call 911.

“Why would somebody want to just kill him like that, cold blooded in front of his kids? They just don’t have a heart to do that,” she told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution via phone Monday. “This is the devil’s work.”

Jonathan “Jay” Wiley, 21, was shot multiple times and killed shortly before 2 a.m. Saturday at his home along Oak Vista Court in unincorporated Lawrenceville, Gwinnett police said. On the day of the shooting, authorities said the motive was unclear and that they were following leads.

Everyone in the home had been in bed when the shooting occurred. The couple’s 3-year-old son was asleep at the foot of their bed. In a separate bed inside the bedroom slept their 2- and 4-year-old daughters.

After a round of gunshots, Wiley’s girlfriend’s screams sent Holsey into a panic. Someone had shot into the room from the outside, but Holsey said she is unsure who would have wanted her son dead.

Wiley was a family man. If he wasn’t at work or at the gym, he was playing with his kids outside, maintaining the yard for his mother or mowing the lawn for his neighbors. Holsey, 42, said her son was loved by many and didn’t have any enemies.

Since the shooting, Holsey hasn’t been able to sleep. She no longer feels safe inside her home.

“We fear for our lives because the killer hasn’t been caught,” Holsey said. “It’s just scary because you never know if they’re going to come back.”

Wiley’s girlfriend and the kids have moved out and intend on staying away until at least the suspect is caught. Holsey said she hopes the children can eventually move past the hurt of losing their father, but that they never forget him. They will now have to grow up knowing him only through pictures and stories from others.

“They just can’t be here. They’re already traumatized from what they saw,” Holsey said. “(His kids) were saying, ‘Daddy, blood. Daddy, gun,’ after it happened.”

Jonathan Wiley would spend his free time jumping on the trampoline with his kids, his mother said.

Credit: Family photo

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Credit: Family photo

As the family waits for the autopsy results and for a suspect to be identified, planning a funeral is the last thing on Holsey’s mind. She already has had to overcome the loss of her mother when she was 14 years old and her fiancé's death when she was 18, so Holsey said she thought this loss would have been easier with which to cope.

But the death of a child is like no other.

“It’s heartbreaking. I can’t do nothing but cry,” she said. “Past losses made me strong, but this is a loss that hurts. That was my baby.”

The family has organized a GoFundMe campaign to help pay for funeral expenses. Anyone with information is asked to contact Gwinnett police at 770-513-5300. Tipsters can remain anonymous, and be eligible for the $10,000 reward, by contacting Crime Stoppers Atlanta at 404-577-8477, texting information to 274637 or visiting the Crime Stoppers website.