Fidel Akagbusu, a Lake Highlands gas station clerk, was talking to a customer late Monday night when the pop-pop of gun fire pierced the quiet. His head snapped to his right, across six lanes to the strip mall on the corner of Audelia Road and Forest Lane. He saw a group of kids running toward the intersection, passing the mall's dollar store, salon and food mart. Then he ducked.
A few minutes later, a man came into the gas station and asked Akagbusu to use his phone. He wanted to call 911. In the far east part of the strip mall's parking lot, close to the dollar store, 15-year-old Christopher Gordon lay dying. He had been shot through the head.
The clerk didn't see it, but according to police, a car carrying at least one shooter drove down Forest Lane, away from the parking lot and Gordon's body. Adjacent to the lot is Lake Highlands Landing, an apartment complex that sits tucked behind a gate. A thin wooden wall separates them.
Drugs and shootings are a problem here, tenant Janice Minniefield said when I visited on Tuesday, and she seems to be right: As soon as I got out of my car in the mall's parking lot, a man asked me if I was there to buy. In 2011, when The Dallas Morning News published a graphic on Dallas' crime hot spots, The Forest Lane-Audelia Road intersection was number two, out of 27.
"It's time for this block to be clean," Minniefield, a mother, said.
In the mall's parking lot, the blood stain from the dead teenager had been decorated with religious candles, a stuffed toy pig and cigarette packages. Shards of broken glass littered the area.
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On a hot Tuesday mid-afternoon, a woman in black jeans and a black tube top sat by the make-shift memorial. She said Gordon had been like a little brother to her. He had played football and kept out of trouble, she said. He laughed a lot.
Minniefield said she didn't personally know Gordon, but she would see him around the apartment complex. To her, Gordon seemed like a good kid. He would walk to the corner food mart, get what he needed and walk back, his head down, she said.
Police said Gordon was hanging out in the parking lot when he was shot multiple times. A tenant said she heard three shots, while a store owner said he heard four. Akagbusu, the clerk, said he heard three or four. It's unclear if the shooting was gang-related, police said.
Send your story tips to the author, Sky Chadde.