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Son Remembers Mother’s Death As She Saved Children At The Last Minute (Exclusive)

Gloria Crews, 64, was hosting a Mother’s Day party when several gunmen opened fire. Another family member was the intended target, her son tells PEOPLE exclusively



<p>Crews family</p>
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Crews family

Gloria Crews

Gloria Crews had cooked for the family on Mother’s Day: baked and baked chicken, macaroni and cheese, potato salad, dressing, cornbread, strawberry shortcake — “a little bit of everything,” her son, Jerrell Crews, remembers — enough to serve about 100 people. people expected to go through it.

But around 7 p.m., Sunday, May 12 — as children played in the front yard of the home in Montgomery, Ala. – several people came out from behind the bushes with automatic assault rifles, firing an estimated “nearly 100 shots.” ”

“It seemed like a terrible movie,” says Jerrell, who spoke exclusively to PEOPLE.

A teenage family member – the intended target, according to Jerrell – had just arrived.

As Gloria, 64, got the children to safety, a bullet struck her in the neck and she collapsed in the front yard, said Jerrell, 43, who was in his own home two doors away and ran back to the party when he heard gunfire .

“She didn’t die immediately,” Jerrell recalled. When he arrived at his mother’s, “She was out of breath.”

Montgomery police released only a brief news release confirming the ongoing murder investigation.

Major Saba Coleman declined to provide additional information Monday, May 20.

No arrests have been made.



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<p>Crews family</p>
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Gloria Crews with her son, Jerrell Crews.

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Central Alabama Crime Stoppers confirmed in an emailed news release to PEOPLE on Monday that the reward for “information leading to the identification and arrest of the shooter” has been increased to $20,000 cash, with city and county leaders coming together in “a stand on to take against violence. ”

“With our gun laws, anyone can have a gun,” Jerrell said. Alabama does not prohibit the purchase or possession of firearms by juvenile offenders. ‘They let us walk around here like the Wild West. They need to tighten it up.”

The military wife had three children and lived on military bases as far away as Hawaii and Germany. Wherever they lived, Jerrell says, his mother was known for her cooking.

The family returned to Alabama before her husband’s death in 1998, and Gloria resumed a job in catering, which she was first hired for at age 16.

In her 50s, Gloria also took in her cousin Lavonte Lockley, now 8, whom she raised as her fourth child. She has six grandchildren.

“But to be honest, she had more kids than that,” Jerrell says. ‘Every child in the neighborhood was at her house. If someone comes to her and has a problem, she steps up.”



<p>Crews Family</p>
<p> A lifelong caterer known for her dishes from her home state of Alabama to Germany, where she lived with her military husband, Gloria Crews, age 64. "always cooks for us," her son, Jerrell Crews, tells PEOPLE.” src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/Nq0o69wFV3dez6PYJBzPjA–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTQyMDtoPTYzMg–/https://media.zenfs.com/en /people_218/6771735c994639c9e5ef87f36ebf1801″/></p>
<p>Crews Family</p>
<p> A lifelong caterer known for her dishes from her home state of Alabama to Germany, where she lived with her military husband, Gloria Crews, age 64. "always cooks for us," her son, Jerrell Crews, tells PEOPLE.” src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/Nq0o69wFV3dez6PYJBzPjA–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTQyMDtoPTYzMg–/https://media.zenfs.com/en /people_218/6771735c994639c9e5ef87f36ebf1801″ class=”caas-img”/></p></div>
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Crews family

A lifelong caterer known for her dishes from her home state of Alabama to Germany, where she lived with her military husband, Gloria Crews, 64, was “always cooking for us,” her son, Jerrell Crews, tells PEOPLE.

Gloria, the family matriarch, was also the caregiver to her father, who died this year, and her mother, who survived her.

“She showed her love with action,” says Jerrell. “She always thought outside the box: making something from nothing.”

Raised by a preacher father who could often be heard singing a gospel song with the refrain “I’m running on – see what the end will be,” Gloria’s faith was so ingrained in her being “she couldn’t help it.” says her son.

As a member of her own church choir, she sang one last time that Mother’s Day morning.

Every morning since has been difficult, says Jerrell, who would wake up to his mother’s calls: “Okay,” she’d say. “Breakfast is ready, come on.”

“I already miss that,” he adds. “Sometimes I can make myself feel like she’s in the house, or not there yet, or about to quit. I miss her voice.”

Gloria’s funeral is scheduled for Saturday, May 25. Her family has set up a verified GoFundMe to help cover the costs of the arrangements.

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