Nashville, Tenn. – A Ja’Donte Thompson, 17, was shot to death while defending three family members during a break-in at his home.
There were four people in bed in the house on Dec. 5 when gunmen kicked in the back door and went to the bedrooms demanding money, People magazine reported.
The men pistol-whipped Thompson’s stepfather. Thompson tried to fight attacker off in defense of his mother, stepfather, and another family member.
Thompson’s mother, Kiquina Bailey, said her son’s girlfriend was on the phone with him as the break-in occurred and heard the killing take place, according to The Tennessean.
Police speculate that the gunmen may have gone to the wrong home.
“It is terrifying. We all need to take a moment and reflect,” Danielle Nellis, the Nashville assistant district attorney, told WSMV-TV . “It’s very personal because we, and I mean Nashville as a city, should understand that every child we lose is our child.”
Thompson’s grandmother, Teresa Meriwether said, “I don’t know where to go from here.”
There was a vigil held for Thompson on Thursday.
Local minister Larry Rayford recited the words of Martin Luther King Jr. at Thompson’s vigil — “A man who does not have something for which he is willing to die is not fit to live”
“This young man thought his family was something worth dying for,” Rayford said.
Marco Villalobos, a former teacher and a youth pastor at a local church, said the smell of marijuana at the vigil was disrespectful to Thompson’s memory.
“We have to do better as a community,” he said. “We have to realize that drugs and alcohol and all this stuff is not going to help.”
Police have not made any arrests in the case as the two suspects are still at large.