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Saginaw mom raising awareness after son with epilepsy shot, killed by homeowner; case is heading to grand jury

After Andrew Russell, 21, reportedly knocked on a door of a home repeatedly around 4 a.m., the homeowner used deadly force.

SAGINAW, Texas — A North Texas mother of a 21-year-old whose shooting death is under investigation is inviting people to help celebrate his life. A vigil is set for Friday evening at St. Thomas Apostolic Catholic Church in Tarrant County.  

The mother, meanwhile, is on a mission to educate people about a health condition he struggled with all of his life.

Cynthia Williams' son, Andrew Russell jumped at every chance in life to have fun. The last conversation she with Russell included him sharing some of his future dreams.

"One of the last conversations we had he was just really excited about pursuing music. He was just excited about going to college this last year," said Williams. 

In the last year, Russell had several hospital stays. The most recent, Williams said, was because Russell had his worst seizure ever due to his battle with epilepsy. 

Credit: Cynthia Williams
After a seizure, often Andrew Russell recovered at the hospital and returned home with more recovery days ahead according to his mother.

On Nov. 1, after saying good night for the evening, Williams left Russell in his room. He had recently returned home from the hospital because of a severe seizure, and he was still suffering from side effects. 

"He was still in a postictal state," Williams said. "I had just put him in bed."

But, Williams said that Russell left the house in the middle of the night. She learned he ended up several blocks away at a home on Babbling Drive. 

After Russell repeatedly knocked on the door of a home around 4 a.m., the homeowner used deadly force, according to the report. 

When police arrived at the home, they found Russell dead on the porch with multiple gunshot wounds. 

Officers talked with the homeowner, who said they woke up about 3:50 a.m. to someone banging on their front door. They asked them to leave, and Russell began to walk away. 

Then, the homeowner said Russell turned around and "rushed" at them, according to the news release. That's when the homeowner fired shots at Russell, striking him. 

RELATED: Saginaw residents fatally shoot suspected intruders, blocks apart; police say unrelated

The case is now headed to the grand jury, according to Anna Tinsley Williams, who serves as communications officer for Criminal Defense Attorney Sharen Wilson in Tarrant County. 

Either way, Williams wants to raise public awareness about epilepsy. She spoke about trying to make life normal for Russell, despite his diagnosis.

"We were moving towards Andrew being independent and living on his own. He had gotten an implant called a DNS. It's kind of like a pacemaker for the brain, and the further we would move the level up, we could being the medication down," said Williams.

Since the shooting, friends and strangers alike have donated to Russell's funeral. 

Credit: Cynthia Williams
Andrew Russell looked forward to college despite his ongoing battle with Epilepsy. His condition worsened while in High School, but his mother encouraged him to live life as normal as possible like any other young person with big dreams. Andrew grew fond of music as he got older.

A fundraiser has been scheduled Thursday, Nov. 4 at 8:00 p.m., at Old School located at 2132 Tin Top Road in Weatherford, Texas. Any funds that exceed the cost of the funeral will be donated to the Epilepsy Foundation of Texas, according to Williams.

On Friday, Nov. 5, Williams is inviting the public to a candlelight vigil beginning at 7:30 p.m., at Saint Thomas the Apostolic Catholic Church at 5953 Bowman Roberts Road in Fort Worth. 

Family and friends have also started a GoFundMe account to offset funeral costs. Click here if you would like to donate. Many who have donated so far, didn't know Russell personally. 

"Thank you to all of those people," Williams said. "It's heartwarming. These are friends that Andrew didn't get to meet yet."

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