ROSELAND — The last time Doris Massie saw her son Marty Griffis, he told her, "I love you."
Minutes later she found him lifeless in their backyard.
Griffis was found dead along with another man in the 10500 block of South Lafayette Avenue in Roseland Wednesday afternoon.
Massie had just returned home from work and had a brief conversation with his mother about money. After the conversation Griffis told her he loved her and she headed to the store.
"I walked out the store and they said, 'They're shooting on your block,'" Massie said.
Massie said she knew immediately that her son was shot and rushed home to find police scattered through her yard. The 51-year-old tried to force her way into the yard but was stopped. So she went into her home instead and peered out the back window.
She watched her son's lifeless body for 30 minutes.
"I saw the biggest part of my life leave. I saw my son laying on the ground stretched out and I was gone. I can't get the image of him stretched out out of my mind. I'm lost," Massie said. "I feel like they took a big part of my life and I'm mad, but I know he's in a better place."
Griffis just wanted to move his 4-year-old son and girlfriend to a place where he did not have to look over his shoulder every day, his mother said.
"He just wanted to go somewhere he could walk around and be in peace. He wanted to get a job and do something," Massie said.
Family described the 22-year-old as a quiet man who did not go out often. A man who cared more for other people than he did about himself.
"He was a good person. I never seen him get into it with anyone. He was more of a peacemaker. Everybody loved him," Massie said.
He was found laying next to William "LB" Aikens, a father of a 2-week-old girl. Police said the shooting was gang-related, something Griffis' family did not deny.
"That's what it was. I feel bad, but I'm tired of it. He wanted to get away from it," Massie said. "He wasn't like that. He wasn't in the streets all day. He just had friends in gangs."
The family believes Griffis was shot closing the gate in the backyard, but were not sure who Aikens was and why he was near him.
"That's the hardest thing, I don't understand what happened and why, but that's why they call it senseless," Massie said.