NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – At the age of 15, Juan Marquez came to the United States to create a better life for his family. It’s a fact that his now widow, Melody, will tell anyone and everyone about because she is proud.
“His first job was masonry. He worked [as] a brick-layer, and he said he worked. He worked so hard like a man. He said, ‘I didn’t want to give up and show the boss that I couldn’t or that I was hurting, so I sucked it up and I worked as hard as I could,'” remembered Melody.
For years the two had raised their kids, and then their grandkids, together as a unit. Inside a home at the Sudekum Apartment complex, they found love within close walls.
That safety, love, and family unit came crashing down the night of April 9.
“It was a knock on the door,” said Melody. “He opened the door and the person said something to him, tried to barge in, and he started shooting him.”
Just before midnight that night, Metro officers were called to their apartment on Charles E. Davis Boulevard. When they arrived, police said they found Juan lying outside the door of his apartment with multiple gunshot wounds.
However, it was the moment before officers arrived that has stayed with Melody.
“I told him I loved him. Did he love me?” she recalled asking him as he laid in front of her after being shot several times.
The following was the last conversation she remembered having with him:
“And he said, ‘Yeah.’ I said, ‘Well hold on, we have help coming.’ He shook his head, ‘Okay.’ I said, ‘You’re not going to leave us, right?’ He shook his head, ‘No.’ I said, ‘Okay, just be strong. Hold on.’
That’s when she heard the ambulance and sirens getting closer to their home.
“I looked at him and told him, ‘They’re here. Your help is here. You’re going to be okay.'”
But at that moment, Melody knew it was too late.
“He just gave me that one look like I can’t, and that was it, he didn’t make it,” Melody said,
The aftermath of the shooting can still be seen outside the door. Bullet holes and blood are scattered on the door frame. Melody told News 2 she and her family no longer feel safe living there, especially with the remnants of that night still there.
“I held my husband until he took his last breath, not only me but my grandchildren were there, and my children. We all watched him pass away,” Melody said. “He didn’t like me to cry, but I cry now.”
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Juan had made fast friends with those around him. Melody explained even though he didn’t speak much English, that didn’t stop him.
“There’s a lot of crime that happens in that community,” said Jameka Usher a family friend, neighbor, and the Sudekum RA. “We deal with crime on a consistent basis. For me, I do feel like it’s just another number added.”
But for those who actually knew Juan, they know it was much more than just a number.
The organization, Early Bridge Builders, has been working to help the Marquez family since the shooting happened, even going so far as to create a GoFundMe page to help send Juan’s body back to his home country.
Melody sat with those who have brought her comfort through one of her family’s darkest times.
“Since this has happened, it has been an eerie feeling in our backyard, and we’re used to seeing and hearing the kids play or just the neighbors sit outside on the porches. It’s been an eerie feeling for the past three weeks,” Usher said.
Since the shooting, Metro police have not announced an arrest in the case. If you have any information about this case, you are asked to call Nashville Crime Stoppers at 615-742-7463.