Harrison County

She had unconditional love for others, says son of woman shot in Gulfport

Sierra Jefferson worked two jobs to support her children, and she did it with a smile, said people who knew her and loved her.

The lifelong Gulfport resident was removed from life support Thursday at a Mobile hospital, where she was being treated since she suffered a gunshot wound on Monday. Gulfport police arrested her husband in the shooting at Memorial Physicians Clinic, where she worked as a medical assistant. She also worked at Ulta Beauty cosmetics store and salon.

The mother of three was 42. She would have celebrated her 43rd birthday Saturday.

She was the mother of Jerome “Rome” Jefferson Jr., 25; a son named Ricco, 8; and a 4-year-old daughter, Lizzie.

Her eldest son said he will remember his mother best for how she showed unconditional love.

“She was always hanging in with me if I let her down,” Rome Jefferson said. “She hoped to see me get on my feet and have a job that I like. Make some good money and have a family of my own. I just hate it that my little brother and sister won’t get the time to know her like I did.”

If anyone was in need and Jefferson could help them, she would.

“She would give the last of what she had if someone needed it,” her son said.

Stephanie Benigno Bley, also of Gulfport, went to elementary school and high school with Jefferson; they would walk part of the way home together. They recently reconnected when Bley began to take her own daughter to the clinic.

“She was always so very sweet,” Bley said.

“I never heard of her ever being mean to anyone. She always smiled and said something nice to you.”

That’s how her eldest son remembers his mother as well.

“She was a nice lady,” he said. “She was happy with us children and she was happy with her jobs. She was happy with the people she worked with.”

Numerous co-workers and friends have shared Facebook posts since she died. Several say she was always smiling, always cheerful, and often spoke lovingly of her children.

Rome Jefferson said his paternal grandmother is taking care of his younger brother and sister now.

Sierra Jefferson had dropped out of school in the 11th grade when she became pregnant with her first child. She later obtained a GED and competed studies at the Jefferson Davis campus of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and Virginia College, her son said.

She worked at a grocery store when she was younger and was a cook several years at the South Mississippi Regional Center in Long Beach before she became a registered medical assistant.

“When she wasn’t working, she enjoyed doing stuff with us,” Rome Jefferson said.

“She was all about us children. Making sure we had what we needed, having fun with us, and looking forward to seeing how our lives would turn out.”

She would take her younger kids to a park or splash pad. She had gone to the casinos with her eldest son.

“She always wanted to go to places like Disney World and parks and stuff. Extravagant things like zoos and aquariums,” her son said. “I wish she could have done that.”

Robin Fitzgerald: 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews