NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A 17-year-old has died after being shot during a home invasion in Nashville. Police believe he was struck while trying to protect his family.
The incident happened around 11:50 p.m. Tuesday inside a townhome at the John Henry Hale apartments on Capitol Point.
Police say they 17-year-old who was shot and killed likely just got in the way. He was a student at Hillsboro High School. pic.twitter.com/1NRFPjHjkw— Sophie N-K (@SophieNC5) December 6, 2017
Metro Nashville Police officers said two suspects broke into the house by kicking in the back door. They then entered the bedroom area.
Three adults, including the teen's mother, grandfather, and stepfather, were also inside at the time of the shooting. The suspects ordered all four out of bed at gunpoint and demanded money.
Police said the victim, identified as 17-year-old Ja'Donte Thompson, was shot in the chest during a scuffle with one of the gunmen. His stepfather, identified as 41-year-old Joseph Patton, was pistol-whipped during the ordeal. The two suspects fled from the scene without taking anything.
Detectives searched the house and found nothing suspicious. They say the family works and all four were in bed asleep before the attack. pic.twitter.com/dpcGPDir2L— Sophie N-K (@SophieNC5) December 6, 2017
Thompson was taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.
The gunmen were described as being in their late 20s or 30s. One of them was wearing a red beanie hat and a red jacket. Police have asked the community to take note of that hat and jacket description. That suspect also smelled of alcohol and had the appearance of being intoxicated.
The other gunman was wearing a mask and all black clothing.
Police said it's unclear why the suspects hit this particular residence, adding they may have targeted the wrong house. Detectives searched the home and found nothing suspicious.
Police said Thompson was a student at Hillsboro High School.
Metro Nashville Public Schools said the district was providing grief counselors to support the students and faculty members.
Officials with Metro Schools released the following statement:
"MNPS is saddened to learn about the tragic death of a 17-year-old Hillsboro High School student. He enrolled at Hillsboro this fall and previously attended East Nashville Magnet School. And though he wasn’t at the school long, he had a positive impact on his classmates, teachers and staff. He planned to join Hillsboro’s DECA chapter and baseball team. 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 here at Metro Nashville Public Schools, and particularly the staff and students at Hillsboro and East High Schools. The district is providing grief counselors to support students and faculty. Our deepest sympathy is extended to the family during their time of grief."
The victim's father, Ja'Donte Hancock, said his son died a hero.
Hancock said, "He was protecting his mother and his stepfather and they knew… he had weight on him, so I don't know why they did that to my son."
He was known for his big smile.
Hancock said, "He was a beautiful person. He had a beautiful smile. That's my baby. I love him."
Police said the gunmen left without taking anything.
Hancock said, "They took my baby from me like that's not cool. I wish they would just stop the violence in Nashville."
In his free time Thompson played football, and he worked to help provide for his mom and 5 siblings.
Hancock said, "He worked at top golf, his second job, but he loved it. He loved it."
His dad says he called him every night to say "I love you."
Hancock said, "He was a good child. He wasn't into gangs, he wasn't in to drugs, he was just a good child man."
Police didn't find anything suspicious in the home, so his dad is not sure why it was targeted.
But what he does know, is his son's future was taken away from him.
Hancock said, "He wanted to go to the Navy, like that's not cool, why would you take my son from me?"
Thompson's death marks the 106th homicide in Metro Nashville this year. His family wants to make sure his memory is more than a statistic.
Hancock said, "He's an angel."
Anyone with information on this fatal shooting has been urged to contact Crime Stoppers at 615-742-7463.