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Taveon Donte' Brooks

Age 15

Kansas City, Kansas

Basketball point guard, would-be rapper

Days before it happened, and just before his mother’s birthday, he dyed his hair red to match hers.

He aspired to be a rapper, and he played point guard for F.L. Schlagle High School in Kansas City, Kansas. A middle school poem combined what he loved: “(b)ig white building/beautiful small trees .… I walked up stairs … /holding the big bright round ball …”

Taveon Donte' Brooks, 15, was with with four other teens in a car at 2:45 a.m. in northwest Kansas City, when someone shot at them. Taveon was killed; the other teens survived.

By Brianna Rodriguez · Age 17
Meet the Reporters

Raydale Hill

Age 17

Oakland, California

Can no longer create his music

Deep, steady beats pulse in the background as he enthusiastically raps and dances to his latest hit, “Heavy Night,” which has more than 21,000 views on YouTube.

His 4,235 followers on Instagram knew him as “Fat Daddy” and “Heavy Baby.” He spent a lot of time creating music videos with his friends. Outside the music realm, he was a brother and a father of three children.

Raydale Hill, 17, was shot outside a convenience store on West Grand Avenue in Oakland, California, on Sept. 13, 2018, at 12:17 a.m. He died at a hospital the same day.

By Zoe Hsu · Age 16
Meet the Reporters

Elijah Foster

Age 18

Omaha, Nebraska

Dope Boy Gang. One less member.

Dope Boy Gang: That was the name of his rap group. It was a start for the aspiring hip-hop artist. A photograph showed him in a recording studio with a microphone close to his lips.

 

He was a loving uncle to his young nephew and a “natural leader.” His twin sister remembers his troubled upbringing: “He did the best that he could.”

Elijah Foster, 18, was fatally shot on Feb 5, 2019, in Omaha, Nebraska. Bullets from the scene shattered windows and hit the side of a woman’s home. Foster was found dead at the corner of 47th and Redman Avenue.

By Allie Kelly · Age 18
Meet the Reporters

Vicente Valero III

Age 17

Christine, Texas

He was a modern Renaissance man

He was a Texas boy. You could see it in his red starred-and-striped American Eagle shirt. You could see when he showed his hogs in stock shows.

His skills varied from taekwondo to agriculture, music and robotics — the makings of a modern Renaissance man. Supporting him was his big family, who had recently lost the family patriarch, the namesake of both him and his father. A name passed down with love.

On April 30, 2018, in Christine, Texas, Vincent Valero III, 17, was accidentally shot by his father who didn’t know the 45-caliber handgun was loaded as he worked on it at the kitchen table.

By Alexandria Frank · Age 19
Meet the Reporters

Ricky Ryon Willis III

Age 10

Tampa, Florida

YouTuber was destined for great things

A smooth voice. Deep brown eyes. His smile, unique with gap teeth, shined wide.

He started off his YouTube videos with a bombastic, “What’s up Willis Fam!” In his channel’s bio, he promised that he would “entertain and make people happy when they're sad.” In one video, he said, “I’m basically gonna be going a lot of places.”

His mother’s boyfriend, however, had other plans.

Deputies say he shot and killed Ricky Ryon Willis, 10, and his mother in Tampa, Florida, on Oct. 21, 2018, during an argument over changing the television channel. Ryon’s “America’s Got Talent” audition was scheduled for December.

By Sarah Bentley · Age 16
Meet the Reporters

Ramon Enriquez Barragan

Age 17

Garden City, Kansas

Born, raised, died in Garden City

In the photo, his curly dark hair falls over his forehead. His sweet dark eyes and slight smile go hand-in-hand with the “kind-hearted young man” he was said to be.  

One of eight siblings, he “always put others before himself.” Video games, boxing and singing were his passions. He belonged to St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Garden City, Kansas, where he was born and raised.

Ramon Enriquez Barragan, 17, was riding in a car at 1:40 p.m. on July 14, 2018, at the U.S. Highway 50 bypass between Third Street and Campus Drive in Garden City, when shots were fired into the car by a passing vehicle. Ramon was struck. He was taken to St. Catherine’s Hospital, where he died.

By Ava Uditsky · Age 16 and Yasmeen Franks · Age 16
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Trevon Fareed Richardson

Age 18

Decatur, Georgia

College, football, a scholarship. All lost.

A football standout, he wore the number 11 on Fridays. And the crowd roared.

He was Cedar Grove High School’s star athlete, also playing basketball and running track and field. A full scholarship as a wide receiver for Valdosta State University was just two months away.

Trevon Fareed Richardson, 18, was shot and killed outside of a DeKalb County apartment complex on May 28, 2018. The candles they made for him read, “Long live Trey.” During a two-week period in the metro Atlanta area, he was one of five teenagers 18 or younger who died, all at the end of a gun.

By Sarah Bentley · Age 16
Meet the Reporters

James Claggion IV

Age 18

Newport News, Virginia

Left hometown for fame in Atlanta

His family had always called him determined, and following his dreams was no exception. He’d moved to Atlanta to pursue a burgeoning hip-hop career, leaving his hometown behind. "We have something that some people don't have,” his mother later said. “His voice...his music.”

He was back in Newport News, Virginia, and visiting his grandmother’s house when his aunt stopped by. She could tell something was wrong – furniture lay overturned, the house was filled with the eerie noise of the TV’s volume turned high.

On March 16, 2018, she found her nephew, 18-year-old James Claggion, IV, in the house, dead from a gunshot wound.

By Katherine Oung · Age 15 and Rebecca Brady · Age 18
Meet the Reporters

Zachary Mulford

Age 15

New Castle, Pennsylvania

Summer job turns into winter grief

His short, brown hair was practical and out of his face as he worked in the summer to mow lawns. Beneath the sweat, he was an artist consumed by the need to draw, and a drummer for his high school band.

He loved his family – including his six siblings – his city, and his friends. His friends loved him too: one attempted CPR while waiting for an ambulance to arrive after a gun accidentally discharged at a friend’s home.

Zachary Mulford, 15, died Dec. 8, 2018 of a gunshot wound to his chest in his beloved city of New Castle, Pennsylvania.

By Tess Fuller · Age 16
Meet the Reporters

Bryan Portales Escalante

Age 16

Houston, Texas

Phone, wallet, shoes and, life — gone

A student at Heights High School in Houston, Texas, he was ”a funny kid” with a passion for music. He was saving up to buy a truck.

His dad was the maintenance man for the Innsbruck-Lemoyne apartment complex, where his family lived. A week before his birthday, he was helping his mother with laundry when a friend texted him. He left.

Bryan Portales Escalante, 15, was robbed, shot and killed in the parking lot of the apartment complex on Aug. 15, 2018. In addition to his cellphone and wallet, Spring Valley police said the robbers took his shoes.

By Ariana Abtahi · Age 17
Meet the Reporters

More than 80 musicians

Taveon Donte' Brooks

Basketball point guard, would-be rapper

Raydale Hill

Can no longer create his music

Elijah Foster

Dope Boy Gang. One less member.

Vicente Valero III

He was a modern Renaissance man

Ricky Ryon Willis III

YouTuber was destined for great things

Ramon Enriquez Barragan

Born, raised, died in Garden City

Trevon Fareed Richardson

College, football, a scholarship. All lost.

James Claggion IV

Left hometown for fame in Atlanta

Zachary Mulford

Summer job turns into winter grief

Bryan Portales Escalante

Phone, wallet, shoes and, life — gone

Darion Gordon

Sixteen years erased by one bullet

Ke’Andre Johnson

Cut off after only one verse

Kaileigh Lin Collier

Was “more beautiful than she knew”

Carnandez A. Davis

New family never to be whole

Taylor Hayes

A star on her karaoke machine

Arthur Roger Holloway III

His obituary ran in two states

Montrell Anthony Mouzon

His dream of witnessing motocross shattered

Brandon Nash Hammett

‘The music master’ killed before college

Chazton Dejuan Artray Guidry

A dream ends, a sound silenced

Jordan Leon DeShields

He told friends to be careful