The mother of a 16-year-old wants to know why her son was shot to death.
Catrease Hyde wants her son, Damien Thompson Jr., to walk in her house and smile, but she knows it won’t happen.
The teen was shot Saturday on Ponderosa Drive in the west Gulfport neighborhood of Villa Del Rey. He died less than two hours later, according to Gulfport police.
“He was supposed to be with friends that he trusted, and he wound up losing his life,” Hyde said. “It’s very hurtful the way he was taken.”
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Damien had five younger siblings.
Their mother said a large turnout Sunday at a balloon release to honor his memory warmed her heart.
A fish fry to help raise money for burial expenses was being held Monday on an empty lot at Ponderosa and Bonita drives.
Police said they received a report of a shooting about 10:30 a.m. Saturday in the 400 block. A relative lives around the corner, Hyde said.
Officers found Damien suffering from a gunshot wound, and he died shortly afterward.
Hyde said her son was respectful, friendly, family-oriented and known for his big smile and his love of playing basketball.
“If you were his friend, you were his family,” she said. “If you crossed him with his family or friends, he would react to that because he was protective.”
Hyde said she wants to keep his memory alive and “to do what he would want me to do as his mother, to continue to strive to be positive and direct his younger friends to do the same, to have a positive outlook on life.”
Damien wore his hair in short dreadlocks and he liked to tease his mother with his hair.
“Just one more time, I want him to walk through the door to come play with me. To wrestle with me, shake his face in my hair. I know it ain’t gone happen, but that’s what I hold on to.”
Sun Herald photojournalist Amanda McCoy contributed to this report.