FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Seven years ago today, Dontay White was shot to death in Fort Wayne.
That night in 2016 still replays in his mother’s head.
“He got shot late at night. When he got to the hospital, it was already May 19, but it will still be May 18 to me,” Kandell White, mother of Dontay White, said.
“Plus, it’s my birthday.”
Teen victim died on his mother’s birthday
White’s son, a 17-year-old Snider High School student, was shot as he sat behind the driver’s seat of a sedan parked along Brickshire Parkway, across the street from Maysville Landing Apartments on the city’s northeast side.
Little information has been released about the circumstances surrounding the shooting.
Dontay White, a student at Anthis Career Academy in the electrician’s program, another male and a female were riding in the car when they picked up a fourth person and ended up parking in the Brickshire Village housing addition. None of them lived there, Fort Wayne police said at the time.
Then, gunshots were heard.
White and the driver inside the car were both hit. The male with White was seriously wounded but lived. The female in the car went unharmed. Emergency crews rushed White to a hospital where he later died.
The Allen County Coroner later ruled his death a homicide.
To this day, Kandell White wishes she had picked her son up that night.
For a year, Dontay had been working at the Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken at the corner of Wells Street and State Boulevard.
“He had just got off work from there,” his mother remembers. She was on her way to pick him up when he called to tell her he didn’t need a ride home that night.
“Dontay took a photo of himself clocking out,” Kandell White said. “You can hear him. It says the time on there, which was like 10:30 p.m. Gunshots were reported at 11:10 p.m.”
“I should have gone and picked him up,” she said.
White was waiting for her son to return to home when someone from Parkview Health called, telling her to get to the hospital right away.
After her son’s death, Lee’s put their condolences on the big sign at the store’s corner:
“We will miss you Dontay.”
This year, just as years in the past, there will be a balloon release to honor and remember Dontay White. The number of balloons is increasing, one for every month he’s been gone and one for every year, his mother said.
“We’ll all do a balloon launch,” White said. She hasn’t chosen the place yet, but there are always places that remind her of him, like the parks where he played. One of them is Lakeside Park.
But she won’t be done. There’ll be a balloon launch on his birthday, too, on July 17.
No arrests have been made in Dontay White’s case.
Police at the time said they had a person of interest they were investigating, and that they were actively trying to find that person. Seven years later, that person has never been named and police have not said whether they’ve questioned that person or not.
While not addressing the case specifically, police still ask for the public’s help.
“The FWPD Homicide Unit can’t comment on any past unsolved homicides, but I would pass along that this homicide, as with any previous unsolved homicides, are important to solve to bring closure to families and justice to these victims. I would encourage anyone that has any information about this case or any other unsolved homicide to come forward with information, either by contacting the FWPD Detective Bureau at (260) 427-1201 or by using the Crimestoppers P3 tips app anonymously,” Sgt. David Klein said in an email.
The lack of leads or activity hasn’t stopped White’s mother.
Kandell White continues to scour social media for any new information that might push the local court system to file charges. She is vigilant about any movement on the case, looking for any hope justice might be brought for the son’s death.
Meanwhile, she does what she can to ease her pain.
She releases the balloons. She goes to the parks where her son loved to play.
And she keeps his name out there.
Someday, she thinks, someone who knows something will come forward.
Seven years to the day of her son’s death, it’s the one thing she is still able to hold onto – hope.