SW DeKalb student dies 2 days after mother allegedly shot him

He was trying to break up a fight between adults and teenagers when several shots were fired. Pierre Tilson, 15, was hit in the head.

When College Park officers arrived at the Godby Road apartment complex around 8 p.m. Saturday, Pierre wasn’t moving. A bullet was lodged in his head, and he wasn’t breathing, according to police.

As an officer began chest compressions on the teenager, witnesses told officers they knew who had shot Pierre. It was his own mother.

Inside her apartment, Latoya Tilson was arrested. As her son was clinging to life at Grady Memorial Hospital, Latoya Tilson was being booked into the Fulton County jail Saturday on charges related to the shooting. Her son died Monday.

According to witnesses, Latoya Tilson initially was also trying to break up a fight at the complex.

“The mother went out there allegedly to break it up,” Master Sgt. Jeff Hightower said Monday. “During the altercation, someone hit her in the face.”

That’s when the mother took out a small-caliber handgun and fired several shots into the crowd, Hightower said. Two teenagers were shot.

A 17-year-old hit in the buttocks is expected to survive his injuries, but Pierre was in critical condition. The Southwest DeKalb High School student was visited in the hospital by his band director, who played one of Pierre’s drum solos in hopes of getting a response from the freshman.

Pierre’s father, Wayne Jones, told Channel 2 on Sunday it was a terrible accident.

“I’ve been told — I haven’t spoken with her — she’s on suicide watch,” Jones said. “She’s very distraught at this point.”

Latoya Tilson, 33, was charged with two counts of aggravated assault, reckless conduct, cruelty to children, use of a firearm during the commission of a felony, violation of the family violence act and carrying a concealed weapon, Fulton County jail records showed.

On Monday morning, Latoya Tilson waived her first court appearance, according to the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office. Less than three hours later, Pierre died.

The case has been turned over to the Fulton County District’s Attorney Office, which could upgrade charges since the teenager has died, according to College Park police.

Instead of enjoying spring break, Pierre’s friends and classmates were grieving the smart, funny teenager. Band members had hoped to visit Pierre in the hospital, but didn’t have the chance.

“He was a nice guy,” Mitchell Edwards, 16, told Channel 2 Action News. “Everyone around him knew him so it wasn’t like no one knew him. He was a good guy. He didn’t back down from a challenge. He was smart.”

Pierre and his sister were visiting their mother for the Easter weekend at the time of the shooting, according to police and family. The teen and his sister lived with their father.

Latoya Tilson had previously lived in Stone Mountain, where a case is still pending against her for educational neglect, according to DeKalb County court records. Her next court appearance for the most recent charges is scheduled for April 20.

Funeral arrangements for Pierre were not complete late Monday.

— Staff writer Steve Visser contributed to this report.

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