Busta’s Person of the Week: Sneaker Ball Gala brings families of slain youth together

Busta’s Person of the Week: Sneaker Ball Gala brings  families of slain youth together
July 20
11:01 2023

By Busta Brown

It has been three years since a Davidson County deputy shot and killed 18-year-old Frederick Cox at a funeral service in High Point on Nov. 8, 2020. An autopsy released last year ruled Fredrick’s death as a homicide. According to the deputy, he saw Cox with a gun, so he fired. The report from the medical examiner didn’t find any gunshot residue on Fred Cox’s hands at the time of his autopsy. High Point police claim that gunfire from rival gangs outside the funeral service led the deputy to shoot. No gun was ever recovered. 

According to the Fred Cox Matters Foundation website, Fredrick was shot in the back several times at a funeral service while he was trying to protect those around him. “During the gunfire, he was sitting in the car about to drive off, but he saw Vivian and Tavares, a mother and her son. He ran to the door and held it for them to get out. Knowing that Fred didn’t only lose his life, but he saved lives, that keeps me going. To know my son wasn’t selfish,” said Tenicka Shannon, Cox’s mother.

Also, according to the Fred Cox Matters website, the family’s initial understanding was that a group doing a drive-by shooting was responsible for Cox’s death. The family later discovered that an undercover officer who was out of his jurisdiction was responsible for killing Cox. No charges were filed against the deputy in the case. 

“We had a deposition to settle the case, but couldn’t come to a mutual agreement,” said Tenicka. 

I asked her what, if anything, could give her closure. “If the deputy is honest about what he did to my son. If he was charged and convicted, that would definitely give me some closure. Or if he just apologizes, it would be good. That would help,” said a very emotional Tenicka Shannon.

Tenicka is a strong, bold and resilient lady, but the loss of a child is a pain like no other. She said therapy has helped her somewhat to move forward. “I’m getting past my dark days and crying all day and night. But my heart still hurts, Busta. It really hurts,” shared Shannon, as she held back tears. 

After regaining her composure, she shared something that caused the both of us to lose our composure. “On June 6, 2021, my son’s father, Fred Cox Sr., died from a heart attack. But he really died from a broken heart, Busta. That day he sent me a video at 1:04 p.m., and he was crying and telling me how strong I am. Then at 6:13 p.m. he sent a message asking if I was OK. I replied yes. At 7:57 p.m., he was dead. He died from a broken heart,” shared Tenicka. 

I stopped the interview as tears flowed down the brokenhearted mother’s face. But remember, she’s a tough lady. After a few minutes had passed, she sat up, wiped her tears and then we continued. “My son and his dad are buried next to each other. So, when I visit my son, I talk to his father as well.”

This past Saturday, July 8, God gave Tenicka Shannon some much needed sunshine! Her family, friends and the community came together to celebrate Fred Cox Jr.’s 21st birthday with a Sneaker Ball Gala at the Lazy E Event Center in High Point. The event center’s décor was elegant at its best. Everyone was decked out in ball gowns, tuxedos, suits, all while rocking some of the dopest sneakers. Don Foli West African Drum and Dance took us to the Motherland with an amazing performance. 

Rev. Jeanette Rupert, who flew in from Minneapolis, Minnesota, said, “Through the inspirational African drumming, we were reminded of the stories of strength that overcame struggle, told through the rhythm that captivated our hearts. Each beat was a palpable reminder of the God-given strength woven in our DNA.” 

Singer Jamera McQueen and dancer Akira teamed up for a powerful performance that had the audience’s eyes filled with tears of joy. 

“The event was inspirational, motivational, and encouraging. These are the words that captivated our hearts during the 21st Birthday Celebration for Fred Cox Jr. The unjust murder of Fred Cox (and other stolen lives) are the reasons why we must keep moving towards accountability and systemic change.

“Everywhere you looked, every single person in the room was constantly smiling, laughing, & dancing. It is important for impacted families to show each other support and continue to grow! The love is so real. And seeing Tenicka with a smile on her face, tears from laughter, and her dancing made my entire heart happy,” shared Tanya James, a participant of the event.

“Even in his death Fred is still doing big things! Knowing how much he’s loved and respected by so many people brought so much joy to my heart. He was able to bring all of these families together in one place. Amir Brooks, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Jacob Blake, Kwamina Ocran, Jarvis Lykes, Korryn Gaines, Vedo Hall, Carlton Smith, JahMari Rice and Shanquella Robinson families were all at Fred Cox’s 21st Sneaker Ball Gala. My son is still making major moves,” said Tenicka.

I asked Tenicka to give a message to young Black males. “Put the guns down! You are damaging your Black mothers.” 

I also asked what she wants us to remember most about Fred. “He wasn’t perfect. But he was a loving person, who loved those that didn’t love him.” She said as a community, we must come together to prevent our Black boys from becoming another Fred Cox. 

Tenicka‘s favorite quote: “I do what I can, and God does what I can’t.” My Person of the Week is Tenicka Shannon. For info on how you can support Fred Cox Matters Foundation, visit 

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