Houston police confirm that 26-year-old James Weldon Ecford was shot and killed Monday night while trying to protect his mother from an armed robber.
Ecford and his mother were returning from an outing at 11 p.m. When Ecford went inside their home ahead of his mother, she was then confronted outside by a man who demanded she hand over her purse. When Ecford heard his mother's screams, he immediately ran outside.
The robber and Ecford engaged in a physical struggle, and at some point during the fight, KPRC reports that the criminal pulled out a gun and shot Ecford in the head, killing him immediately.
While the suspect escaped the scene of the crime, witnesses saw him driving away in a small, four-door compact car.
Neighbor Jaime Mendoza told KPRC, "She [Ecford's mother] was crying, 'I should have just let them have my purse.' If I would have had my wife and child next to me, I would have been like, 'Here take it.'"
Another witness told KHOU, "It was right outside my front door. I opened the door — the body was right there." She also said she will be forever haunted by what she saw.
Police are still searching for the suspect but have yet to release an official description of the gunman.
(Photo: James Weldon Ecford via Facebook)