SALT  LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – Eight year old Xavier Lucero-Waters lived most of his life at a homeless shelter.

But his parents Moses Waters and Michelle Lucero-Waters managed to take the next step and found an apartment near 545 North Center Street in Salt Lake City.

“He was always hungry,” said Ashley Hoopes, his pre-school teacher at the Road Home Shelter.

She said Xavier’s craving for food was no different than other children living at the shelter.

“They are the forgotten faces of the homeless,” said Hoopes.

Tuesday, Xavier’s life was cut short.  Salt Lake City police said his father, Moses Waters was fighting with his wife when he shot Xavier using a homemade weapon and then shot himself.

Hoopes said she and other volunteers at the shelter were crushed to learn of Xavier’s death.

“(He) had a heart of gold and wanted to be everybody’s best friend including all of the volunteer teachers so he did become our best friend and we just loved having him there,” said Hoopes.

She said Xavier and his parents lived at the shelter on and off for about four years.
Amy Tabor met Xavier’s mother, Michelle while at the shelter.  She too was in tears after learning of his death.

“I can’t believe it,” said Tabor. “He’s such a cute little boy. I love him. It breaks my heart.”

She said her children and Xavier often played at the shelter.

“They had there little imaginary world and it was cute,” said Tabor. “They played together all the time. They loved each other.”

Waters had a history of domestic violence.  He was first charged in 2005 and again in 2014 with aggravated assault and domestic violence.  Court records claimed Xavier was a witness in the 2014 incident when Waters allegedly put a knife to Michelle’s throat.  Both cases were later dismissed.

Tabor claimed Waters was bi-polar and did odd things.

“He actually chopped his own pinkie off,” she said. “He cut it off.”

Tabor said he wanted to take his own life.  Court records show Waters was on medications to help with his mental condition.  But Tabor said when he was on his medications he was a good father.

Hoopes said she never saw any of that in her interactions with Xavier’s parents.

“I did not ever get the feeling that he was being hurt by his parents,” Hoopes said. “I felt that Michelle, his mom was very protective of him.”

She said Xavier was one of her favorites.  

“He just had a smile on his face and a hug for everyone,” Hoopes said. He was just so tender and so kind. He was a beautiful boy who loved life.”