Circumstances were what they were and Justin Davis knew that.
But he also knew that his 11-year-old cousin – the street-wise and scrappy kid that he was just get ready to take to his first Oakland Raiders football game – had people that cared for him too.
Just not when it mattered most.
On early Sunday morning 11-year-old Hunter Davis and his 17-year-old brother sustained gunshot wounds at a house party that suddenly turned tragic. The elder of the two is fine. But Hunter — who was shot in the head — is currently listed in critical condition at UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento. People close to the situation considered it dire at best.
“He’s a kid that’s just way ahead of his time,” said Davis’ 24-year-old uncle, who said that the extended family is still reeling from the news. “Whoever knows Hunter knows that he’s a kid that has the heart of a lion, and he’s a kid that could damn well take care of himself.”
Media reports of the incident and what transpired inside of the house have varied since the news broke Monday morning, but a 17-year-old is in custody and the charges will likely depend on the circumstances. A representative from UC Davis Medical Center said Tuesday evening that Davis’ condition was still listed as critical, and that he didn’t expect that to immediately change.
For an uncle that just had a son of his own – a chance to recognize the miracle of life firsthand and share that experience with the young man he had taken under his wing after he recognized signs of potential trouble – it’s a heartbreaking thing to hear.
Even at 11-years-old, young Hunter Davis was tech-savvy – able to drop his uncle a line on Facebook or dial him up from any phone, anywhere. He knew his phone number by heart.
As a young man he did all of the things that young men are supposed to do – he ran and he played and scraped his knees. He loved football and playing in the street and just generally being a kid.
When Sunday rolls around, says Justin Davis, it will be hard to look around the area and see all of the Oakland Raiders jerseys knowing that he never got the chance to take his nephew to a game.
“One minute I’m getting phone calls and Facebook messages and the next minute it’s this,” he said. “He’d do everything with me – he was there for the birth of my son and he’d come over and we’d just do things. I’d buy him clothes and we’d play football. That kid was such an athlete.
“He had people out there. He didn’t have me at that exact moment, at that exact time. I couldn’t save his life. What’s an 11-year-old doing at a house like that with a loaded gun? He should be out with friends – being a kid. Just being a kid.”