Sunday Mornings with Rania: Javier Flores and Teen Choices

Javier Flores. Just typing his name brings tears to my eyes. Why? Because on Feb. 23, 2017, on that ill-fated night, Flores went from being a dedicated, young 18-year-old to a hero whose name we should all say with admiration. Please share his story. 

Here’s what we know. Flores worked at the Subway on Broadway to help support his family. His mother worked there as well. They were working a joint-shift when two men (who police believe to be 16 and 20 years old) walked in shortly before 9 p.m. with the intent to rob the store. As one suspect pulled out a gun and pointed it at Flores’ mother, the young Chaves High School student jumped in to shield her. A single shot was fired, striking Flores. As the suspects ran, Flores was taken to Ben Taub Hospital where he died of his wounds.  

At Crime Stoppers of Houston, we deal with felony cases all day every day. Murder, rape, arson, kidnapping and more. When the victim is a teen or younger, a good kid, just going about their daily life – it is heartbreaking. But in the very rare case where the victim gives up his life to save another or to save a parent – it is truly beyond heartbreaking. 

Here’s why I ask you to share this story. According to the TJJD, in a given year, more than 100,000 juveniles are arrested in Texas or referred to the juvenile probation system. That said, teens today have a choice. In this case, we have three young men. Two chose a life of crime and one, Javier Flores, chose a life of hard work, respect and integrity. As this story breaks and law enforcement deals with the criminals involved, the emerging story is only Javier Flores’ – his family, his life and his legacy. 

In looking at teens like Flores, sadly, over the last year, we have lost many to senseless robberies at their places of employment. I have attempted to address that issue in an earlier post including the discussion on retail policies for handling cash as well as shifts that involve “working until close” -- but not today. Today, my message is one of love, admiration, applause and respect for young men and women like Javier Flores and the families that raise them. To them I say: You are loved and appreciated and while we don’t know you, we will come together as a community to embrace you and support you. Your son is our son and we mourn your loss with you. 

To that extent, the community has spoken with good Samaritans adding their own personal money to help find Flores’ killers. 

About the author

Executive Director of Crime Stoppers of Houston