San Antonio mother to son’s killer: ‘I forgive you for pulling that trigger’

Stephan Henderson, 23, was expecting the birth of another child in October before he was killed

SAN ANTONIO – A San Antonio mother said she forgives her son’s killer, but she’s pleading for them to turn themselves in to police.

Hattie Henderson Dolberry is the mother of Stephan Henderson, 23. He was shot and killed while at a large ranch party June 13.

“I was at home and I just woke up,” Dolberry said. “I didn’t want to believe it was true but something told me something wasn’t right because why else would someone else’s mother be calling me? Then the police called and later identified my son. They told me he was shot and murdered at a party with over 600 people there. I know there is bound to be someone out there that saw what happened. There is no way 600 people could be there and nobody saw it.”

For 23 years, Dolberry said it was just her and her son as she raised him as a single parent.

“He was so loving,” she said. “He was a very caring person. He would go out of his way for a stranger.”

She said he took pride in being a father.

“He loved his children,” Dolberry said. “He would do anything for them.”

Dolberry said his goofiness and lively personality are what she will miss the most.

“He loved interacting with his kids and his cousins,” she said. “It could be a time where everyone is upset and mad and he walks in the door and he is changing the whole atmosphere. He was just silly. He was a silly character. He would always come hang on my shoulders and kiss on me and I would be like, ’Oh your wet sloppy kisses!’ So yeah, I won’t get to share those kisses or moments anymore and I don’t think it is fair to me at all.”

Police said when they arrived, there were several vehicles trying to leave but Henderson’s friend stayed by his side.

That friend has stayed in touch with his mother.

“He is traumatized,” she said. “He sat there and held my son while my son bled to death in his arms. I am grateful he was there for him because nobody else was.”

She said she prays that gun violence stops.

“You don’t realize how much pain you cause to the parents and the children and the family,” she said. “Think if it was your family having to deal with this. It is painful and hard to understand why my child. Why?”

She said she has been beyond heartbroken.

“It is just a mixture of emotions,” Dolberry said. “From anger to pain, to sorrow to even feeling sorry for myself when I shouldn’t because I know he is there with me. He is always there with me. He will be here with his children also.”

She said her oldest grandson, 6, understands what is going on.

“I asked him, ‘Do you know what is going on with your father?’ He said, ‘Yes, my daddy is dead but he lives right here,’” she said referencing her heart.

She encourages families to hold their loved ones close.

“Cherish every moment you have with your children because a bullet has no name on it,” she said. “You never know. It doesn’t even have to be a bullet. It could be a car accident. Just cherish every moment.”

Dolberry had this to say to the shooter still at large.

“I forgive you for pulling that trigger, but I also feel that I deserve an explanation as to why you pulled that trigger,” she said. “It is not fair that you took his life away from me. I raised him for 23 years as his mother and his father. You will be able to hear your children calling your name. I just have a video of him calling mine. Have some type of sympathy for me and turn yourself in.”

There is a Crimestoppers reward for any information leading to an arrest. You can call anonymously at (210)224-STOP.

The family is planning a balloon release at the location of Henderson’s death Friday at 7:30 p.m.

More on KSAT:

San Antonio police need public’s help identifying suspect in ‘ranch party’ shooting

SAPD: Man dead after large party on South Side ends in shooting

About the Authors:

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

Joe Arredondo is a photojournalist at KSAT 12.