“I still want justice.”: 6-year-old killed in Moorhead shooting remembered one year later

Published: Mar. 21, 2022 at 7:19 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - A family is still in mourning as Monday marks the one-year anniversary of the tragic shooting of a six-year old boy.

Moorhead Police responded to the 400 block of Sunrise Cir. last March where officers say four young children were left home alone, found a gun and shot and killed 6-year-old Marcellus Dixon.

“It just hurt losing him because that’s just like losing one of your own. I love my children, but when the grandbabies come, you love them even more,” Renee Williams, Marcellus’ paternal grandmother said.

Marcellus and his two siblings were visiting their mom, Demetria Smith last spring when Williams and official documents say Smith dropped the kids off at the Moorhead apartment complex and left with a friend to go to the mall and for drinks.

“I mean it’s a sad situation,” Williams said.

34-year-old Phillip Neal Jones Jr. has since been charged federally in connection to the shooting as officials say it was his gun the kids found under a chip box and fired the deadly round. As a convicted felon, Jones Jr. was prohibited from possessing a firearm.

In recent court filings, Jones’ attorney’s wrote:

“Mr. Jones was informed while he was still in North Dakota that Marcellus died in his apartment. He is crushed by the thought that his gun possession ultimately led to the tragic accident in this case. Mr. Jones was very close to Marcellus. Even though they are technically cousins, he looked at Marcellus like his own son. He misses Marcellus every day.”

Williams says as tragic as it is, she doesn’t think Jones should have ever been charged because he was out of town when the shooting happened and didn’t know kids were going to be in his home unsupervised. Instead, Williams says she’s still fighting for Marcellus’ mom to face charges and won’t stop until prosecutors listen.

“I still want justice for Celly,” she said.

Along with Marcellus’ 9-year-old brother and 7-year-old sister, a memorial for Marcellus now lives in Williams’ Georgia home where the family tells that goofy and spunky 6-year-old ‘I love you’ every day.

“We miss him, we love him, but I know that he’s in a better place,” Williams said.

Balloons were released by Williams and several of her family members and neighbors Monday afternoon at her home. You can watch the video below:

Balloon release for Marcellus Dixon

Jones has since pleaded guilty in the case and has been sentenced to serve 57 months in prison and 3 years of supervised release.

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