Standing outside her home near Cravens Park in southeast Arlington under a bright sun Thursday afternoon, Gloria Butler tried to find words to recount her painful loss.
“He died in my arms. ... I called the cops,” she said.
Her second-oldest son, 21-year-old Miles Peters of Arlington, had just finished working the late shift at a restaurant off Interstate 20 and was waiting for Butler to pick him up when he was shot just after midnight July 19. His Nissan Altima had recently been totaled.
“He called me and said, ‘Someone just shot me, Mom,’ ” she said, trying to keep herself from crying as she recalled the last time she heard his voice. “I was right at the exit. I was right there. I just called the cops asking them to get there.”
She held out both arms and motioned as if holding Peters’ body.
“I got there and I was putting pressure on him, speaking to the cops and hoping ... hoping that God could hear my prayers,” she said.
Peters was taken to Medical City Arlington hospital where he died at 12:59 a.m., according to the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office.
Grand Prairie detectives arrested Isaiah Murray, 18, of Grand Prairie and Demauri Jackson, 17, of Arlington earlier this week and charged both teens with murder.
Security video footage from a nearby business showed a male running westbound on Sara Jane Parkway near the freeway, away from the area where Peters was found shot, around the same time of the shooting, according to Grand Prairie police.
In the hours after Peters’ death, dozens of his friends expressed their feelings on social media.
One of Peters’ high school friends was still in shock that his life ended the way it did.
“It’s hard. It’s actually somebody in our grade. It was somebody we thought we would see when we were 40, you know?” said Dai’Quone Jones, 21, who attended Seguin High School with Peters from 2011 to 2015.
They grew up in southeast Arlington and occasionally played basketball at Cravens Park, Jones said. The pair ended up in the same algebra class as freshmen at Seguin.
“That’s when we became friends, but in the beginning we really would just joke on each other,” said Jones. “He was really just a jokester. Everybody knew Miles just because he stood out. ”
That was partly because of his athletic build — he stood 6-foot-7 and weighed 181 pounds — but also because of his smile and demeanor, according to Jones.
“He could be sitting down minding his own business and you’ll just look at him and you’ll just laugh,” said Jones. “That’s how his energy was. He was never upset at anything.”
Peters’ mother echoed that sentiment.
“He always was popular. Even in high school he was the most popular person,” Butler said.
After graduation, Peters enrolled at Tarrant Community College for a few semesters, stopped, then enrolled again recently to study pre-med.
“He had ulcers when he was younger and he was fascinated with the fact that they were able to help him, so he wanted to get into medicine,” said Butler, 50.
She said her relationship with Miles was close. He was her right hand.
“With me like my pocketbook,” she said. “We did everything together. He was a friend; he wasn’t a distant son where you didn’t know his goals or anything.”
On Thursday, just a few hours after learning about the suspects’ arrest, Butler stood in the blazing sun searching for answers to why her son was gunned down.
“From what I gather, it was jealousy,” she said. “It wasn’t any street relation to it. It seems like it was just plain jealousy based on who Miles was as a person.”
Grand Prairie police said they are still trying to establish a motive in the case.
In a soft voice, Butler explained that she needed to go inside and begin to clean out her son’s room.
She added that the calm demeanor she was displaying was merely a shield to hide her inner pain.
“The rage that’s in me will never leave. The rest of my life is tears. Whether I cry now or later I’m always crying inside,” she said.