Houston News & Search
Photo: Courtesy Of Family
When Ellen Breaux left New Orleans in 2011, it was to find her sons a better life. She had high hopes for her three boys, who seemed set to start afresh in Texas after an act of violence ripped apart their world.
That June, a shooter had sprayed bullets into the young mother and her fiance. Breaux — who was shot four times — survived. Her fiance was not so lucky.
But the fresh start Breaux envisioned in Houston soured on Monday when her middle son, O’Cyrus Breaux, was killed at his 14th birthday party — apparently by a stray bullet.
“Out of all the things that could have happened,” Breaux said Tuesday, breaking down into tears. “I don’t know what to say. I moved here for my sons — to save them.”
The day before the teen’s slaying was full of rainy weather, his mother recalled. That didn’t put much of a damper on the festivities, but it forced the 15 or so celebrants inside until well after dark.
O’Cyrus thought he was too old for singing and cake, but party-goers serenaded him anyway. For the most part, the teen felt he was too old for presents, too, but his stepfather surprised him with a highly coveted bluetooth speaker.
“We have a video of him opening it,” Breaux said. “He was the happiest thing, screaming happy for that speaker.”
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By 2 a.m. the party had wound down, but six or seven kids were sitting outside, enjoying the stormy weather’s belated departure.
From inside the house, Breaux heard a loud crack. At first, she wasn’t sure it was a gunshot.
“We all jumped,” she said. “Before I could even put my shoes on, I could hear the kids hollering, ‘He’s shot!'”
The bullet — which came seemingly from nowhere, according to witnesses — tore through the boy’s stomach. He started to run for help before hitting the ground.
Breaux immediately dialed 911, but even as she did, her boy tried to tell her he would be alright.
“Stop screaming, I’m okay,” he told her. “Y’all calm down. I’m okay.”
Those were the last words he said to his mother.
When an ambulance didn’t show up quickly enough, the family decided to take matters into their own hands and began a frantic drive to the hospital.
On the way, the boy’s stepfather flagged down police, who got paramedics to rush the bleeding teen to Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Hospital.
O’Cyrus was still alive when his mother watched him get loaded into the ambulance. But once she got to the hospital and struggled to get information, she knew there was something wrong.
“I’d already been through this,” she said. “I already knew.”
The Louisiana native originally came to Houston as a Katrina evacuee. But, missing her hometown, she and her family moved back. Then came the 2011 shooting.
“We didn’t know if she was alive or not until two days later,” Breaux’s twin sister Naomi Breaux recalled Tuesday. “For all we knew, she was gone.”
Later that year, Ellen Breaux and her children moved to Humble before relocating to their Greenspoint-area home in the fall.
O’Cyrus settled into Texas life easily. His family described him as a good student and a bad but enthusiastic dancer. “He was into R&B,” his mother said, laughing through tears as she turned over memories of her son. “He think he’s the freshest thing walking up the street.”
Even after moving to Houston, the boy remained a diehard New Orleans Saints fan — and a talented football player in his own right.
“The first time he got on a team he was six years old,” his aunt said. “They used him as a secret weapon because he could run.”
The Aldine ISD eighth grader was involved in everything from track to basketball, but his passion was on the gridiron.
“He wanted to be a football player when he grew up,” his father Bill Jackson said.
Ellen and Naomi Breaux exchanged kids every summer for some warm-weather family bonding,
“My young kids, they just cling to him,” Naomi said. “All the babies just follow him.”
This year, O’Cyrus was set to head down to the Big Easy again. The dates weren’t finalized, but
Naomi said she’d planned to drive out to Houston and surprise her sister this week.
“Then I heard about this,” she said. “I just can’t imagine somebody doing this thing. It’s just so hard to think about. Even if it was an accident – just come forward and tell me what happened. Just tell us what happened.”
But a day after the slaying, police had no new updates to offer. A nearby robbery could offer some answers, as police probe possible links between the crime and the gunfire. Based on the time the calls came in and similar suspect descriptions, the two incidents may be related, police said.
But whatever sparked the shooting, it’s offered painful lessons for the grieving mother, who’s grappling with the seeming ubiquity of gun violence.
“You can’t run from it,” she said, her voice cracking. “There’s no sense in moving.”
Margaret Kadifa contributed to this report.
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