Donations raised, family showered in love after loss of 2-year-old son to gun violence

Donations raised, family showered in love after loss of 2-year-old son to gun violence
The line to support the Hutchinson family stretched down Main Street Thursday. Vince Hutchinson Jr. is a New Roads police officer. The fundraiser was to support the family as it tries to pay funeral expenses. (Source: WAFB)

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Officer Vince Hutchinson Jr. describes the smile and laugh that were synonymous with his 2-year-old son, Azariah Christien Thomas, as radiating and infectious.

Hutchinson says Azariah always had a way to light up the room no matter who was there. It’s a description anyone who knows the family will agree with.

“He used to have this little crazy dance he used to do every time a song came on,” Hutchinson said. “It was just his thing.”

Hutchinson says his son was playful, energetic, and spontaneous, often catching people off guard to make them laugh, and when he laughed, he says Azariah would start giggling, then it would erupt into a noise no one could forget.

Azariah Thomas's father is Vince Hutchinson, an officer with News Roads Police Department.
Azariah Thomas's father is Vince Hutchinson, an officer with News Roads Police Department. (Source: Thomas Family)

“It’s crazy that we’ll never get to hear that again,” his dad said.

That laugh was taken away far before its time Thursday, Oct. 15. Bullets ripped the young life away from his family, leaving a hole where love once was.

“We was robbed man, we was robbed,” said Vince Hutchinson Sr., Azariah’s grandfather. “We was robbed of a beautiful soul, a beautiful life. He was so smart.”

The family is doing their best not to live in the pain his death has caused, but rather remember the joy he brought in two short years.

“He was the best part of your day and I’m not just saying that because he was my son, I’m saying it because of his personality and the person that he was,” his father said. “He was just a loving child all the way around.”

While they’re trying accomplish the impossible task of moving forward after the loss of a child, the pain is all too real.

“I still feel my son around,” Hutchinson Jr. said. “Like, I still hear my son call me daddy and I still, there’s still the unreal moment at this time. I don’t know, the best way to explain what I’m going through, but I’m basically numb.”

The weight has not been left for the family to carry alone though. The community in New Roads came in masses to show their support for the Hutchinson family. Hutchinson Jr. is a police officer in New Roads.

A balloon release was held Thursday, Oct. 22 in honor of Azariah Christien Thomas, 2, who was killed in a shooting Oct. 15.
A balloon release was held Thursday, Oct. 22 in honor of Azariah Christien Thomas, 2, who was killed in a shooting Oct. 15. (Source: WAFB)

Chief Kevin McDonald helped organize a fundraiser, selling BBQ chicken and jambalaya to raise money to help the family cover funeral expenses, which they were not prepared to handle. By noon, more people showed up than there was food, more chicken had to be ordered, and the line stretched down Main Street.

The money raised goes 100% toward the family’s expenses. Any money leftover is being donated to Our Lady of the Lake’s Children’s Hospital.

“We know there’s nothing no one can do to bring my son back, but it’s just the love and the support that we’re being showed that, it can’t fix the scars that are created, but it definitely helps them heal quicker,” Hutchinson Jr. said.

If you’d like to donate to the fund to help the Hutchinson family cover the costs of the funeral service, you can find the info below:

Zelle:

OR

B1 Bank:

  • The Azariah Christien Thomas Fund
  • Acct. #: 80030152935
  • Routing #: 065405420

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