Family, friends want justice for teen who died protecting his family

(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A North Nashville family is desperate for answers after their son was shot and killed during a home invasion.

17-year-old Ja’Donte Thompson Hancock died trying to help stop two gunmen Tuesday night.

Nearly 100 people gathered at Watkins Park to hold vigil for the teen.

(Photo: WKRN)

His friends talked about the bond Donte had his with mother.

“Family always came first,” they said. “He didn’t want to disappoint his mama. He knew he didn’t want to disappoint his mama.”

They said they believe Ja’Donte was trying to protect her.

“Donte went down fighting for his family,” his aunt said. “We gotta become fighters and lovers.”

Circuit Court Clerk Howard Gentry was also at the vigil. He said he coached Ja’Donte at a summer football camp.

He begged the young men in the crowd to stop the violence.

“I see this every day,” Gentry said. “I see what’s happening in our community. We’re losing too many lives, we’re losing too many young lives.”

Community activist Clemmie Greenlee had a message of justice for the suspects.

“If you took somebody’s life then you’re fixing to lay down with yours,” she said. “I’m not saying a bullet for a bullet but I’m saying some time for a crime.”

Ja’Donte’s mom and step-dad were also at the vigil. His mom talked about the pain of her loss and asked the suspects to turn themselves in.

Police say the gunmen are described as being in their late 20’s to 30’s.

One of them, who wore a red beanie hat and a red jacket, smelled of alcohol and had the appearance of being intoxicated, according to the victims.  The other gunman was masked and wore all black clothing.

Anyone knowing who he might be is asked to contact our partners at Crime Stoppers at 615-742-7463.