Deborah Gaines talked to her son, Julian Fruh, almost every day.
“I love you, Ju,” she’d say some point during every conversation.
“I love you more, Ma,” Fruh would answer.
That’s what she misses most about her son, she said: “Him telling me that he loves me.”
Fruh’s life was cut short at just 19 years old on Aug.31, when he was found shot in the head at the 4400 block of Marble Hall Road, according to the Baltimore Police Department. He was later pronounced dead at Johns Hopkins Hospital.
At the time, Fruh worked for Allied Universal as a security guard at Morgan State University through a contract between the two, according to news reports. He was found near a building where many Morgan State students live. Someone who says he works for the same security company told WJZ that Fruh was on his break when he was shot.
That was Fruh’s first job, Gaines said. He started in August, “just to have some money.”
Fruh had just graduated from high school at Green Street Academy, Gaines said, where he’d played on the football team since 9th grade. He was an outside linebacker and loved it.
It was Fruh’s idea to join the football team, she said. Gaines still remembers his last game when his team was winning, and “the smile he had on his face” afterward.
He was a quiet kid, Gaines said. But he was funny. He was charming.
And, Fruh was also determined, she said. He was going to do “whatever he made up his mind to do,” Gaines said.
“He’s always been that way since he was a little baby,” she said.
Gaines also remembered taking Fruh to Chuck E. Cheese when he was younger. She’d put her son on a ride, but “as soon as you turned your head he was gone,” she remembers. “Running off to the next thing.”
He was always free-spirited in that way, Gaines said. He was a leader, she said, and “didn’t always follow the crowd.”
After graduating from high school, other people wanted Fruh to go to college, but Gaines wanted Fruh to be whatever he wanted to be.
“He’s going to find out what he likes and he’s going to do that, regardless of what everybody else say,” Gaines said. He would “walk at the beat of his drum,” she said.
Her son wanted to go into nursing at one point, she recalled, but changed his mind after he saw how many classes it involved. He later decided he wanted to learn HVAC, Gaines said, or heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration. On the Friday after he died, he was supposed to take a test for an HVAC training school.
In his free time, Fruh liked to play video games and hang out with his friends, Gaines said. And, he loved to spend time with his family, she said. As the youngest of four children, “he was my little baby,” she said.
For Mother’s Day this year, Gaines said, Fruh didn’t get her a gift. Instead, he texted her, “Ma, I promise you it ain’t always gonna be like that,” Gaines remembers. “He said ‘I’m going to be the one that’s going to take care of you.’”
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