Karla Jones, a 22-year-old Chicago nonprofit employee, tried to go to work Tuesday.
It had been only three days since her younger brother died some 700 miles away in DeKalb County. His roommate dialed 911 and said she'd just stabbed Charles Rudison to death during an argument over a missed ride after a night out, according to police.
The loss seared Jones.
Rudison was her best friend, a 21-year-old "class clown" and introspective Georgia State University business major with too many dreams to count, Jones recalls. He wanted to be a writer and had written for the school newspaper at Georgia Southern University. Even at 21, he was working with 100 Black Men of America, a mentoring organization, family said.
Jones thought work would take her mind off everything.
She wept. Colleagues spotted her and asked what was wrong. She went home.
“I couldn’t bear it,” she told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution by phone.
“I lost my best friend and my brother at the same time.”
And she can’t understand why.
Jones said her brother met the roommate, 22-year-old Breyana Davis, through an online student housing board while in a pinch for someone to share his apartment on Bouldercrest Road. Jones never spoke with Davis or heard of any conflict between the roommates.
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Rudison and Davis were just friends, not dating, the sister said.
Davis called 911 at 3:45 a.m. Saturday.
She said she had left Rudison and another friend in downtown Atlanta, forcing them to catch a ride through the Lyft service, according to police. Once they arrived to Ashford East Village apartments, Rudison asked Davis why she’d left and, according to the other friend, Davis poured a pot of boiling water on Rudison and stabbed him in the chest with a butcher knife.
DeKalb police haven't revealed a possible motive.
Jones found out what happened after her brother didn’t respond to text messages and calls.
She’d dealt with loss before. Their father, Ezekiel Daniel Rudison, died in 2005.
Back then, the fact that hurt most at first was that she’d never see him again. Now, with her brother, the fact of how he died haunts her.
But when she brushes off the visions, she closes her eyes and pictures him as he was, not as he ended up. He’s lounging on a couch at Aunt Jaunta Rudison’s house in Gwinnett County. The brother and sister moved there from Chicago after their father died. The brother’s cracking jokes at the sister, “roasting” her. He calls her "Fathead." But somehow he's endearing still. She knows he loves her, though they never said it out loud, because that's too touchy-feely.
When the aunt thinks of the nephew, she sees him as her “son,” the goal-oriented and kind young man she treated as her own after her brother passed.
“He was also an encourager,” Jaunta Rudison told The AJC. “People would look to him for wisdom.”
She’s proud to reveal that the 21-year-old bought a new car and was paying his way through college by working at a Dacula Publix distribution center. She isn't exactly sure what he would've become if he lived to realize one of his many dreams. But she knows it would've been good.
“This young man had a lot going for him,” she said.