- Jared Leone, Cox Media Group National Content Desk
A teenager was fatally shot trying to protect his family Tuesday during a botched home invasion, police said.
Ja’Donte Thompson, 17, died after he fought with one of the intruders, who fired several shots, hitting the teen in the chest, according to WZTV.
"He didn't deserve this," grandmother Shirley Whitlow told WZTV. "No he did not. He did not."
Two men, believed to be in their late 20s or early 30s, broke the back door, ran upstairs and shouted, “Where is it at?” mistaking the residence for a drug house, police said.
There were no drugs or guns in the house.
Only a sleeping family.
Thompson was killed when he tried to defend his grandfather, stepfather, mother and sister. Joseph Patton, his stepfather, was pistol-whipped during the altercation, police said.
"When he heard what was going on, he came and protected his mother," Whitlow said. "He died protecting his mother."
The intruders took nothing and fled.
Police are checking a neighbor’s surveillance video for clues. One intruder had his face covered and wore all black. The other did not wear a mask but was wearing a red beanie and red jacket. He reeked of alcohol and appeared inebriated, according to The Tennessean.
Thompson attended Hillsboro High School, after transferring there from East Nashville Magnet School. He planned to join the school’s baseball team and DECA chapter. The school was providing grief counselors to support students and staff.
“Though he wasn’t at the school long, he had a positive impact on his classmates, teachers and staff,” Metro Nashville Public Schools said in a statement. “Teachers said he had model behavior and was a good example of an aspiring leader. This is a tragic case of senseless violence that has saddened all of us.”
Thompson’s family said he was a great kid who was always smiling. He watched his sister while his mother worked and recently got a job at Top Golf to earn money to buy Christmas presents for his family and friends, his grandmother said.
"These is tears of joy. Tears of joy because he was a well-respectable child,” Whitlow said. "I'm going to miss him but one of these old days. One of these old days, we're all going to be together and every day is going to be sweet Sunday.”