Antonio Fausto was talking with his long-distance fiancee, Angela Shields, over the phone when she mentioned that her son, Marcus Alfredo Flores, was there.
For Fausto in California, it was around 7:30 p.m. April 4, and he didn’t recognize how late it was in Gainesville for Shields.
“I knew that something was wrong, but the time difference never dawned on me,” Fausto said. “But hearing it in her voice is what alerted me to call her brothers.”
Shields’ family said Flores had become increasingly violent in his interactions with his mother, and she had no longer allowed him to stay at her Chicopee Street home.
Steven and Lester Shields, Angela’s brothers, went over to the home, but no one was answering. They eventually opened the front door and found Angela Shields dead on the floor.
Flores, 34, was arrested later. Shields suffered fatal slicing wounds to her face, back and buttocks, according to the warrant.
Flores was indicted Monday, May 16, on charges of malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, terroristic threats and possession of a knife during the commission of a felony.
Military veterans meet
Shields, 63, was a Navy veteran who was stationed in Pearl Harbor for roughly six years.
A fellow Army veteran, Fausto met Shields about three years ago through the game Word Blitz on Facebook, a word-finding game at which he could never beat Shields.
The two eventually exchanged phone numbers, as the two talked for hours a day.
Fausto said he was drawn to her kindness, and the two had a deep connection and understanding of one another.
“After about 10 months, I said to myself, ‘I’ve got to meet this woman,’” Fausto said.
Fausto flew from Los Angeles to Gainesville in November 2020 and would return to Hall County every third month. Shields introduced him into her church community at Action Word Ministry in Buford.
On his fifth trip out this past November, Fausto proposed.
Throughout her life, Shields "tried to look out for everybody," Steven Shields said.
He was 2 when their mother died, and his older sister stepped up to take care of him. In a family with five brothers, Angela Shields had to be able to hold her own.
“She was a churchgoing person (and) loved everybody,” he said.
Her loved ones could never do wrong in her eyes, Steven Shields said, as Angela never gave up on her son and did whatever she could to help him.
Even though Angela Shields would put money in her son’s account if he was incarcerated, Steven Shields said his sister wouldn’t let him come back to stay in her home.
“Every time something went wrong with his life, he said it was his momma’s fault,” Steven Shields said.
‘I don’t know where I’m going to go’
Fausto got Shields round-trip tickets to California for this month so she could meet his family.
“I was going to pack up everything and move to Gainesville just to be with her,” Fausto said.
Fausto had already started packing. He told his landlord he was moving out.
“I don’t know where I’m going to go from here,” Fausto said.
Fausto said the couple had plans to travel including to Las Vegas and were likely going to set a wedding date for this year.
“I kind of feel like I failed her because I couldn’t get help to her in time,” Fausto said.
“I’m glad she met him … because he really did love her,” Steven Shields said of Fausto. “He was planning on taking care of her for the rest of her life.”