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11-year-old shot in head dies; murder charges pending
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His uncle said that he had the heart of a lion.

Neighbors described him as a modern day Tom Sawyer that didn’t let circumstances prevent him enjoying the simple things in life.

Hunter Davis – the precocious 11-year-old with a proclivity for mischief – meant a lot of different things to a lot of different people.

He died on Monday after clinging to life for a week after being shot in the head at a gathering at the Manteca home he was living at with his siblings. The Manteca Police Department says that they’re upgrading the charges against the 17-year-old believed to be responsible to homicide.

Davis was taken to an area hospital before being airlifted to UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento with life-threatening injuries. His brain capacity was severely diminished and multiple times during the two-week stint he spent in the hospital social media played a cruel mistress in perpetuating the belief that he had already died.

“What is the family supposed to do when they lose a loved one like this?” asked Hunter’s uncle Justin Davis in an interview with The Bulletin. “I can’t even put this into words. You never think that something like this is going to happen to somebody that you love and care about until you get that phone call.”

The young boy was known around the community as a member of the Central Valley Baptist Church congregation and routinely rode the bus from wherever he was to the complex on Sundays to worship and find solace and stability in the foundation that the church provided.

The young boy’s family had lost its home in Manteca to foreclosure so places like church and school, according to family members and those who knew him, were a way to gain normalcy and put himself in a situation that was much different than what he found at home. 

What transpired inside of the house on the night of the shooting isn’t completely clear. Alcohol was believed to have been involved, and the majority of the story as reported to the media was made directly by those who were either there or had direct knowledge. But 17-year-old Zak Hurlburt is being charged as an adult in the case after initially being taken into custody and booked into San Joaquin County Juvenile Hall because he is a minor. His name does not come up in the register of inmates being held at the San Joaquin County Jail so he is likely still being held as a juvenile. The judge denied a bail request when he appeared in court last week.

Investigators recovered a gun at the scene but are still trying to determine who it belongs to and why it was accessible by teenagers in the first place. If it is determined that the gun is registered to an adult, additional charges could be filed against that person as well.

Hunter went to Shasta Elementary while his older brothers reportedly attended Manteca High School. The three would traverse the corridor from Manteca to Modesto – where they had been living with their parents since the Manteca home had been foreclosed on – and spent a great deal of time in their old neighborhood looking for friends or old neighbors willing to let them crash for the night.

The family of Hunter Davis has setup a Give Forward crowdfunding campaign to help offset the cost of the funeral expenses. Those that are interested in supporting the family can go to and search for “Hunter Davis” in the search bar.