One phrase ricocheted through Rochelle Wilson’s mind when she received the call.
“Please not my son, not my son, not my son.”
The body of 17-year-old Cameron Wilson was found in a Fife parking lot near Pacific Highway East and Willow Road on May 13. Wilson’s cause of death was a gunshot wound to the chest; his death was ruled a homicide.
Cameron’s funeral service was held on Monday, said Rochelle Wilson, Cameron’s mother.
“It’s the worst feeling in the world to have to put your baby to rest … the worst feeling,” she said.
She was at work on May 13 when the mom of Cameron’s friend called and told her the friend was hysterical.
The friend believed something had happened to Cameron after seeing a news report in which the victim description fit that of Cameron, said Rochelle Wilson, of Fife.
“I hoped it was all some big misunderstanding,” she recalled. She went to her supervisor and explained the situation. She was too upset to drive, so coworkers drove her to the police station where her panicked fear became sickening reality, she said.
Earlier in the day, Cameron was seen at a barbecue with friends at a friend’s detail shop near Willow Road in Fife. He returned home and Rochelle Wilson said she saw Cameron around 6 p.m. She then went to bed.
That was the last time she saw her son.
Cameron was planning to meet up with someone who he had an ongoing dispute with, Fife police stated in a press release.
“What I wouldn’t give to just hug my baby, to just kiss my son,” she told the Mirror.
“We gotta figure out who did this to my baby,” Rochelle Wilson said. “Why would somebody do that to a 17-year-old kid? … Nobody deserves that anyway, regardless of what your lifestyle is, nobody deserves that.”
In the 10 days since his murder, the family has been taking it one painful second at a time, said Rochelle Wilson.
“I’m trying to hold my family together … it’s so hard,” she said. “Emotions are everywhere. Anger, sadness, grief, all of it combined. We’re trying to hold it together with a prayer.”
Cameron was a senior at Todd Beamer High School in Federal Way nearing graduation this June, the final finish line of high school.
“He had a very bright future in front of him. The sky was the limit for him,” Rochelle Wilson said. He did well in school, and he enjoyed building computers from scratch in his free time, she said.
Cameron planned to attend Seattle University to study computer science this fall.
Due to his tragic murder, which is still under investigation, Rochelle Wilson hopes to accept Cameron’s diploma on his behalf since her son will not be walking across the stage to receive it.
She also plans to be at Todd Beamer’s graduation to support Cameron’s friends.
“Our hearts go out to the friends, family and the school community mourning one of our students whose life was lost too soon,” the Federal Way Public Schools district said in a statement.
When a high school student passes before graduation, the school district works with the family to honor the student’s accomplishments towards a diploma, according to FWPS.
The district procedure states a deceased student “may be honored at the graduation ceremony and qualify for a posthumous diploma that may be presented in the following way:
A designee (student or school district representative such as a coach or teacher) may carry the deceased student’s picture during the graduation ceremony.”
The granting of the posthumous diploma should be in a manner consistent with the intent of graduation, such as by a footnote in the program stating that the diploma is awarded posthumously, the district’s statement continued.
“He touched so many people’s lives,” Rochelle Wilson said. “Cameron was kind, he was funny, he was quirky … Actually, I don’t even want to use the word ‘was’ because he is.”
“His brother is torn to pieces and his sister is just devastated,” Rochelle Wilson said, noting that the siblings were already close, but at the brink of adulthood, were beginning to forge an even stronger bond.
Throughout the tears, confusion, and pain, Rochelle Wilson said she is grateful for their time together.
“How blessed I am to have had 17 years with a wonderful child, a wonderful son, wonderful guy.”