A full-time student at Broward College, Brandon Jones was working to build the future he dreamed of, said his family and friends.
"He wanted to be a mechanic and have his own business," said Verneetra Nelson, his girlfriend. "And we were talking about marriage and kids."
That future ended in a flash late Friday when Jones and a friend were hit by bullets as they stood talking outside Gulfstream Apartments at 46 NW 10th Court in Dania Beach, according to Broward Sheriff’s deputies.
As part of their investigation, the Sheriff’s Office said late Sunday detectives are looking for Devontae Deas, 21, of Dania Beach. Officials said the shooting may have been part of a robbery attempt.
Responding to reports of a shooting, deputies said they arrived about 11 p.m. Friday to find both men on the ground in front of the building.
Jones was taken to Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, where he was pronounced dead.
His friend is expected to survive, detectives said. His name and location are being withheld for his protection, officials said.
Nelson, 22, said she had stopped by Gulfstream Apartments to say hello to Jones and his friend just an hour before the shooting.
"I just gave him a hug and a kiss, and he said, ‘I’ll talk to you later,’" said Nelson, the manager of a fast food restaurant who lived with Jones in Fort Lauderdale. They began dating in October, she said.
"We were ready to make history," Nelson said.
A little after midnight Nelson said she received a call from a relative of Jones informing her he had been shot. In a panic, Nelson said she a friend raced back to the Gulfstream Apartments, and then to the hospital.
But she never saw Jones again, she said.
Jones was one of 11 children born to a mother who died of a stroke in 2012, according to Phylicia Orange, his older sister. He attended Fort Lauderdale High School, she said.
"Brandon was always the quiet one," said Orange, 24. "Humble, no trouble. He knew to do the right thing."
On Sunday, the site of the shooting was covered in spray-painted red markings left by investigators. A wadded-up ball of yellow crime scene tape was left in the street.
Nelson said she believes her boyfriend was "in the wrong place at the wrong time.
"The person who shot him probably doesn’t even know his name," she said.
Authorities ask anyone with information to call BSO Det. Ricky Libman at 954- 321-4210 or report information anonymously to Crime Stoppers of Broward County at 954-493- 8477 or online at http://www.browardcrimestoppers.org.
Crime Stoppers will pay up to $3,000 for information that leads to an arrest.
Funeral services for Jones are pending.