CHERRYVILLE, N.C. - Parents from Cherryville got a devastating phone call Thursday morning, learning their son, James Justice, a soldier who was shot in Afghanistan, was brain-dead.
Randall Justice said he got a call from an Army doctor in Germany 30 minutes before he made it to the airport.
He and Melissa Justice had invited Eyewitness News to meet them at the airport before they left to be with their son. But Thursday morning, the doctor called and told them James Justice had no brain activity. They decided not to make the trip.
Justice was shot in the neck earlier this week during combat in Afghanistan.
“He was a brave soldier,” Randall Justice said. “I didn't think this day would come.”
“I love him and I don't want to let go,” Melissa Justice said.
Justice's parents wanted to do the interview with Eyewitness News to deliver a message they said their 21-year-old son had for them after being in the war-torn country less than a month.
“He told me to tell the American people to thank God for the peace that's in their life, because it's a disaster in Afghanistan,” Randall Justice said.
Justice's wife decided that the soldier's mission of saving lives should be continued after his death. He will become an organ donor and then be taken off life support.
“He wants to give his life for somebody else. I think that's a good thing,” Melissa Justice said.
Randall Justice said his son's lungs and heart may be given to other wounded soldiers in the same hospital in Germany. He said that's what James would have wanted, because he loved his fellow soldiers.
“He said, ‘I might lose my life saving one of my brother's, but if I do, I do,” Randall Justice said.
Randall and Melissa Justice said they are not sure how long it may take for their son's body to return home. They will focus on preparing his family and friends to give him a proper homecoming when that day arrives.
There will be a vigil for Justice Thursday at 7 p.m. at Legacy Church in Gastonia. The church has decided to stream the vigil online. To visit the church’s website, click here.