A Miami anti-violence activist crumpled onto the floor in a Tallahassee courtroom screaming after the man who shot and killed her son was found not guilty.
Tangela Sears’ son David Queen was killed during an argument at the Tallahassee apartment complex where he lived in 2015.
Michael Mason shot 29-year old Queen and then called 911 to report the shooting. Queen was not armed.
On Wednesday, Nov. 15, Mason was found not guilty. Mason’s attorney argued that his client shot Queen in self-defense. Florida’s controversial Stand Your Ground Law eliminates a person’s duty to retreat before using deadly force when that person believes he or she faces a threat of death or great bodily harm.
In the days leading to the trial, Sears took to her Facebook page to ask for support and prayers.
Sears was already active in the community before her son’s death. She would show up at crime scenes and hospitals to console parents who lost their children to gun violence. In an interview with WLRN shortly after her son’s death, she said she never thought the horror of losing a child to gun violence would become her own personal nightmare.
“I didn’t want to hear that my son had been hurt. I didn’t want to hear my son had been killed,” she said at the time. “He’s not just my son; he’s my only child.”
Sears openly shared her struggles after her son’s death on social media and would mark her posts with the hashtag #thistimesitsmine. She formalized her support for parents who have faced this same pain by launching a support and advocacy group called Miami-Dade Parents of Murdered Kids.
Members of the group and supporters who had been following the case flooded her Facebook timeline in disbelief and with supportive words.
“Pray for her health,” wrote Anabel Herrera, whose 16-year old son was killed in Miami-Dade. “Pray that God puts a light inside her that has just been blown out.”