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Valentae' A. Brooks

Age 16

Jackson, Louisiana

The rap video was never finished

He was in his bedroom with his friends, preparing to record a rap song in the closet, his makeshift recording studio. The East Feliciana High School student known as “Cowboy Tae” would be 17 in two days.

He showed what he thought was an unloaded gun to his friends. “I told you I was going to get one,” he said as he handed it off to one of them. They wanted to take pictures and videos with it.

On the evening of Nov. 13, 2018 in a Clinton, Louisiana, home, the loaded gun was accidentally fired, striking and killing Valentae' A. Brooks.

By Willow Taylor Chiang Yang · Age 16
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