Heartbroken mother desperate for closure after teen son shot, killed

Isaiah Sullivan, 16, had dreams of becoming a veterinarian before he was shot and killed

San Antonio – A San Antonio mother is devastated after her 16-year-old son was gunned down on the Northeast Side last month.

San Antonio police said on Feb. 20, Isaiah Sullivan was shot inside an SUV and thrown out near Starcrest.

Karla Stevenson, his mother, said she had no idea and just thought he was missing.

“We were all looking for him,” Stevenson said. “I thought he was with a friend or something but he was nowhere he usually would be and that is with family.”

She said when she saw the headlines about the shooting, she didn’t think it was her son because the initial report stated a 35-year-old man was shot and killed.

“When I found out, it was actually my daughter who told me,” Stevenson said. “She came over and we thought she was coming to join us with searching for him. At that time, we thought he was just missing but she had a hunch and went to the medical examiner’s office with his picture. They identified my son. She came over and she just said, ‘Ma.’ I just took off running and told her, ‘No no no! Don’t tell me that,’” she said as she wept.

Because Sullivan was 16, he had no record, so officials couldn’t identify him or call any family members.

“I just couldn’t believe it,” Stevenson said. “They kept saying, ‘It was a grown man. It was a grown man.’ But it was my baby. I passed by it and everything and it was my baby,” she said through tears.

Stevenson said her son was a very active boy when it came to playing outside.

“He loved playing basketball,” Stevenson said. “He would go outside and play basketball at the church until he was all sweaty and stinky,” she laughed. “He loved playing outside with the younger kids. He would come in and sneak snacks out of the house for them. He loved cutting the grass for all of us. He just got along with everyone, which is why I am having a hard time understanding who would do something like this to my son the way they did. He always walked everywhere. He would never have gotten in another person’s vehicle. He doesn’t even have any friends or cousins with a car so he didn’t have any reason to get in someone else’s vehicle. That was so out of character for him.”

When he wasn’t outside playing with the neighborhood kids, he was joking around with his family.

“Him and couple family members liked to joke on each other,” Stevenson said. “Some of his jokes didn’t make sense but it made sense to him,” she laughed.

“Me and my sisters nicknamed him Fat Fat sometimes,” said Arttravia Stevenson, his older sister. “He was so thick and he like to eat. He loved to eat,” she laughed with her mother.

Stevenson said she is going to miss her son’s good heart.

“He listened to what I said,” Stevenson said. “We talked. We laughed. Went out to eat. He cooked for me he would make over easy eggs because that is the only thing he knew how to cook when he knew I was having a bad day. He always woke up with a smile and had a good spirit. I am going to miss that spirit. I am going to miss him just being a happy person and who never let anything bother him. He was just a happy kid.”

She said she is also heartbroken because her son will never experience life as a man.

“I am going to miss not seeing him graduate or have a girlfriend or grandkids,” she said through tears. “I am going to miss having all of my kids together. That is all I have is my kids. I am missing one of my heartbeats. I had five, now I have four. There is a big hole in all of our hearts.”

Stevenson said Sullivan wanted to be a veterinarian one day because he loved animals.

Her family is desperate for closure. She said she doesn’t think forgiveness will happen for her at this time. Stevenson had this to say to the person responsible for ending her son’s life.

“I am praying that when you close your eyes, you see his face,” Stevenson said. “I pray that it is killing you and driving you insane. I can’t say I can forgive you right now because you took a life you didn’t have to take.”

There are no suspects at this time, police say.

Crime Stoppers may pay up to $5,000 for information that leads to felony arrests in this crime.

If you have any information, you are asked to call Crime Stoppers at 210-224-STOP (210-224-7867).

More on KSAT:

San Antonio police seek suspect connected to fatal shooting of 16-year-old boy

Man, 24, hospitalized after being shot on city’s North Side, officials say


About the Authors:

Japhanie Gray joined 10 News as an anchor in March 2022.

Joe Arredondo is a photojournalist at KSAT 12.