NEW ORLEANS — In a tearful goodbye to his 9-year-old son, Donald Bryant stood outside a New Orleans funeral home Thursday afternoon looking down at his son Devante in a casket, wearing a light blue suit.
“He was an angel, fun, a child, a short life,” Bryant said.
The fourth grader, known as “D-Man,” was killed after a triple shooting earlier this month just outside his home on Pauger Street in the Seventh Ward. Two other young teens were injured. There have been no arrests in this case and police don’t believe Devante was the intended target.
Due to the COVID pandemic, visitation for Devante was done as a drive through, with family, friends and even strangers stopping by.
“It’s just unbelievable. This is a child,” said family friend Teshia Adams. “In life you have choices, but this child didn’t have a choice. This child didn’t have a chance. This is a child.”
“It just really hurt me to see a child so young,” Hope Valladares said. “He didn’t have an opportunity to life his life yet.”
Valladares, a grandmother, didn’t know Devante or his family, but knew she wanted to help. So, she made 200 pins with Devante’s picture to be handed out at his funeral.
“I’m just hoping that everyone will be praying for the family and that’s why I put the praying hands,” Valladares said.
Devante is one of four people killed in three separate triple shootings in New Orleans since May. Wednesday one man was killed and two others injured after a shooting in the St. Roch neighborhood. Back in May, two brothers a 23-year-old and a 3-year-old were killed, and their mother injured after a shooting in Algiers.
“I wish the killings would just stop. I don’t know what to even say about it,” Adams said.
Bryant says he’s grateful for all the support shown to his family and wants his son’s short life to mean something.
“Remembering him will make you love your kids even more than anything. Grab them, hug them, go look for them, search for them, keep them,” Bryant said.
A private funeral is set Friday morning for Devante on what would have been his tenth birthday.