Family Dealing With Death of a Loved One Shot and Killed on Sunday

by Victor Lopez
NewsWest 9

WEST ODESSA--The family of 18-year-old Jaime Morales, spoke exclusively with NewsWest 9 about the kind of person he was and the senseless act that took his life.

Jaime's nickname was "Gadget" because he loved all kinds of games.  Family members say he was the kind of person who would have laid down his life for a friend.  Ironically, they say, that's exactly what happened.

"He was more like a by-stander, really.  He would always try to help everybody.  He was the peacemaker," Jaime's mother, Maria Ramirez, said.

Even though she's planned her son's funeral, Ramirez is still struggling to accept the fact he's gone, "It was unbelievable.  I was, no, it's not true.  I thought he would be okay because he was still alive.  They took me to the trauma room then to the ICU and after that, they told me he didn't make it."

According to Ramirez, her son was shot while he was sticking up for a roommate, who had recently split up with her boyfriend.  He was shot in the back.  The bullet struck him in the kidney, stomach, and other organs.  His mother says, Jaime was set to undergo two, possibly three surgeries, "He was barely on his first one when he gave out."

20-year-old Rafael Alvarez, Jr and 20-year-old Sunny Hignojos are behind bars in connection to Jaime's death.

"It was brutal.  No one deserves to die like that, whether you hate them or not.   I don't know what happened that night but them guys are nobody to take someone's life away," Jaime's cousin, Aaron Montoya, said.

Ramirez tells NewsWest 9, right now, it's not clear if Jaime even knew the pair, "I usually know his friends and I didn't know them.  If he did, it was probably because of the girl."

Jaime was planning on going back to school and get his high school diploma.  He was also hoping to put in a pond on their new property, in time for his 19th birthday in June.  Family members say, he will be missed by everyone who knew him.

"I wish I would have kept up with him," Montoya said.  "I know he did not deserve to die that young and especially the way he did."

Ramirez added, "I don't wish the hurt that I'm going through, on anybody to go through."

The two suspects are still in custody at the Ector County Detention Center.

Alvarez faces charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and is being held on a $50,000.  Hignojos is being held for evading arrest, aggravated assault, attempted murder and murder.  His combined bond is $260,000.