He just left Detroit to start a new life in Las Vegas, but just one month later, it all came to a tragic end.
The former Detroiter and his mother were killed while trying to help a neighbor. That neighbor's son is the suspected gunman said to have been acting erratically before the shooting.
The suspect was arguing with his mother when Branden Hughes and his mom went over to check on her. They did not know their neighbor's son was armed with a Glock and a 30-round magazine.
Police video show how it all ended with James Simpson in a standoff with Las Vegas police.
Investigators say just moments earlier he shot and killed two native Detroiters 47-year-old Felicia Wimberly Hughes and her son Branden Hughes, 31.
Jewella Taylor is Branden's stepmother and come Tuesday morning she will bury him.
"I'm going to just miss the conversations I'm going to miss the voice, hearing him sing, hearing him play the drums," Taylor said.
Branden was a father of four and had just moved to Las Vegas a little more than a month ago. Jewella says it was about having a fresh start.
"It was something we were afraid was going to happen here on the streets of Detroit," said Taylor. "But to move down to Vegas and lose his life like that, we can't wrap our minds around it."
It was Thursday March 31st, investigators say Branden and his mother heard arguing and screaming next door and went to help. That was when police say Simpson shot Branden. His mother tried to render first aid.
"That mother instinct kicked in and being a nurse, the mother gave him some towels and she went to apply it to Branden and that's when the gunman grabbed her and took her life," Taylor said.
Officers confronted Simpson and tried to use a k9 to arrest him. Police say Simpson grabbed his gun then shot and killed the dog after it gave chase.
Officers returned fire striking Simpson several times. He survived the shooting, his victims did not.
"People need to know it's important to love your family through flaws," Taylor said. "Love them, forgive them so that way when that day or that night comes and God takes them home, that it won't be any regrets, that you didn’t get to say I love you."
Branden Hughes leaves behind four children, the youngest just 1 year old. His funeral is set for 11 a.m. Tuesday at Worldwide Kingdom Prophetic Ministries in Lincoln Park.
Police say Simpson is hospitalized and paralyzed from the neck down.