ARLINGTON -- The mother of a 20-year-old rapper gunned down this week in a convenience store parking lot said Wednesday that she is taking comfort in knowing that her son had given his life to Jesus.
"The most important thing was that he had a relationship with God," said Shirley Thomas, mother of Jarami Thomas, who was shot in the chest Monday night in front of several people.
Jasmine Boston, Thomas' girlfriend, was there. "He looked up at me as I was holding his forehead in my lap and he just died in my arms," she said.
Thomas was making a name for himself as a rapper and had appeared on local TV and radio programs and in concert venues across the country, relatives and friends said.
Thomas wrote and produced his own music, wrote his own lyrics, and taped and produced his own videos in addition to adding graphics and art, Boston said.
"We went to church together," Boston said. "An evangelist told him that he was going to be on television and radio, and just this Saturday night, he showed me his first gospel song."
Clevin Earl Brown Jr., 18, of Arlington was arrested late Monday and remained in the Arlington Jail on Wednesday facing a murder charge. Bail was set at $150,000, the jail log showed.
He also faces a charge of unlawfully carrying a weapon, according to the jail log.
Thomas' friends and relatives said that a man who said he had an unsettled debt with Thomas had called and messaged him all day Monday. Some friends said the man kept saying that he wanted to fight Thomas. But Shirley Thomas said the caller kept saying he wanted to end the disagreement, and her son and the caller made plans to meet and make peace.
So after a late show, Jarami Thomas drove up to a store in the 3200 block of West Green Oaks Boulevard. Three men pulled him out of his car. One pulled a gun and shot Thomas in his left arm and chest, police reported.
Jarami Thomas' mix tape is due to be released March 26, friends and relatives said. And Shirley Thomas said she hoped to establish a community-oriented foundation in her son's name.
"Jarami's death will not be in vain," she said. "... We want his name to live forever."