Man who leaves Detroit to escape violence killed in Texas

A young man thought that leaving Detroit behind was the answer to a better life, but he was killed soon after moving to Texas.

Now Charles Harris Jr.'s mother and stepfather, both Detroit police officers, are grieving his loss.

Harris told his mother Detroit was getting dangerous, so he wanted to leave his family and start a new life outside Dallas. He found a quiet, safe neighborhood he liked in Arlington, and went to work and school.

"He had two jobs and was enrolled in school," said his mother, Toniqua Roche. "He was doing everything to make his life better and be successful."

But during a basketball pickup game, Arlington police say the opposing team had an altercation with Charles' teammates about a possible foul. 

After the game, an opposing player walked away but returned with a gun. Charles was not a target but he was shot and killed.

"My son left here with the intention of going out to Arlington to do better," Roche said. "And he succumbed to the violence he was trying to avoid."

Now, two Detroit police officers are both grieving. Toniqua and her husband, Detroit Capt.. Darwin Roche, are stunned at the loss of Charles in a senseless killing. 

Darwin was informed by investigators from Texas, and then had to break the news to his wife while she was at work.

"I didn't believe it," Toniqua said. "I still have issues believing that its happened."

They won't rest until they know their son's killer is locked up.

"As a stepfather to Chuck, and watching my wife go through this grieving process, it's just unbearable," Darwin said.

Roche is familiar with the violence. Previously, the single mother in Detroit was so afraid of punks targeting her home and neighborhood that Toniqua decided to volunteer to spend the evening with her family sitting on the sofa and providing security.

No strangers to street violence while on patrol, they're the suspect who murdered their son.

"He's approximately between 5 feet 8 and 5 feet 11, 135 pounds," Toniqua said. "He has dark dreadlocks with blond tips. He has tattoos on his chest, music notes. He has tattoos on his legs, also. They may be flames."

Visitation for Charles Harris will be in Michigan Thursday May 14, with the service May 15 both at O.H. Pye III Funeral Home 17600 Plymouth Road in northwest Detroit.