Austin police identify teen murdered at weekend birthday party

Crime

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin Police said 19-year-old Javone Montre Hodges was killed during Sunday’s homicide on Robert Wooding Drive.

Investigators said a disturbance broke out between several individuals at a birthday party around 12:31 a.m. on Sunday, ending when a Black male suspect wearing a black shirt and blue jeans fired several shots.

Hodges was pronounced dead on the scene just before 1 a.m.

Javone Montre Hodges was expected to attend Mesabi Range College on a football scholarship (Courtesy Keesha Hodges)
Javone Montre Hodges was expected to attend Mesabi Range College on a football scholarship (Courtesy Keesha Hodges)

According to his family, Hodges was a student-athlete who played football at Northeast Early College High School and was set to attend Mesabi Range College in Minnesota on a football scholarship this fall.

“Everywhere he went he always smiled,” said his mom, Keesha Hodges.

She said that smile and his long hair is what set her son apart on and off the football field.

“We actually gave him the Polamalu name, because he had the long ponytail,” said Tee Swist, who was Hodges’ football coach when he started flag football at the age of five.

Swist said as he grew up, Hodges became a mentor to other young kids, passing on his work ethic.

“Being around him working out was very motivating,” said Xavier Odems. “Just good energy all the time. He always had like a humble spirit, very positive.”

Keesha said her son was supposed to leave for college next month.

“We were supposed to come back together for college and be dorm buddies,” said TJ Clark, who started playing football with Hodges when they were toddlers. They were set to play on the same football team in college.

“I just dropped to the floor in shock. I couldn’t believe my brother was gone,” Clark said.

Investigators have released very little about the suspect. Hodges’ family and friends are asking people who were at the party to speak up.

“If I can describe him in one word, he was loyal to all his friends, so I expect, you know, people to be loyal back to him… we need to have justice for him,” Swist said.

Keesha also has a message for the suspect: “My son’s not coming back. Pretty much it seems like you’re on the run, just go ahead and throw yourself in, because it’s gonna hurt yourself in the long run for yourself.”

A fundraising campaign has been launched for Hodges’ funeral expenses as well as living expenses for the family during their grieving period.

“He had a future ahead of him. He was excited to go play football, because his motto was: ‘You work hard at something, you’re gonna achieve it.’ And that’s exactly what he did,” Keesha said.

That legacy of motivation still lives on.

“[I’m] going to live the dream he was supposed to. I’m going to do it for him. My brother.”

TJ Clark

Another male was also shot and is in serious condition at a local hospital, according to police.

Anyone with information or video of the shooting can call APD Homicide at (512) 974-TIPS, email homicide.apd@austintexas.gov, use the Crime Stoppers tip line at (512) 472-8477 or the Crime Stoppers app.

Information leading to an arrest may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. You can remain anonymous.

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