Xavier Roberson, also known as Obe Noir, was gunned down around 3:45 a.m. on Fannin Street near Rosalie, according to Houston police. A memorial now marks where his life ended and his mother's questions began.
"I really want to know what happened to my child and who did this to my child and why. It's devastating. It really is," said his mother, Melissa Roberson, during an interview with Eyewitness News on Thursday. "That's the hardest thing you could imagine that your child was running for his life."
Police said witnesses heard gunshots and saw Xavier running down the street before a car started circling around him. That's when two men got out and shot him.
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For Melissa, the details could not be worse.
"I can't possibly imagine someone chasing my son down and murdering him. Shooting him in his back. For what reason?" she asked.
Xavier was her oldest son. Melissa knew something was wrong when he did not come home. Family members called hospitals and the morgue in an effort to find him. The 31-year-old grew up in Houston's Third Ward.
He was a talented basketball player but also determined. He graduated from Jack Yates High School, played college basketball for TCU and the University of South Alabama, where he got his degree. He played professionally overseas while also pursuing music.
Obe Noir was his artist name and Longway was his brand.
"It's the distance from where you started to where you're going," explained his cousin, Rondrec Roberson. "He was great with storytelling, putting words together and that's why people liked [his music]. It was relatable. It was creative. It wasn't violent ... the stuff that happened to him. It was the total opposite of that."
It all had meaning, and he was a role model, said Rondrec. Xavier did community work and became further involved in activism when his best friend's uncle, George Floyd, was killed at the hands of Minneapolis police last year.
Xavier was also a family man, and being a father to his daughter Dakota was most important.
"She was the love of his life and he was to her," said his Melissa.
She doesn't know whether the 6-year-old understands the permanence of her father's death yet. Melissa, herself, is still numb.
"I'm still in disbelief. I would like for whoever did this to be caught. I want them to be exposed. They need to find out who did this to my child," she said.
The incident remains under investigation. Anyone with information is urged to contact the Houston Police Department. Meanwhile, a GoFundMe for the rapper has been created to help raise money for his family.
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