In life, Demitri Hampton always tried to encourage young people to attend college — just as he was doing.
That spirit will live on through a scholarship fund that has been set up in his memory.
The DQH Memorial Scholarship will be offered to Riverhead High School graduates attending Suffolk County Community College, said Jamal Davis, Mr. Hampton’s brother.
Mr. Davis said the award is a way to “keep it positive and keep kids in school, continuing their education like my brother did.”
“Basically, we’re doing this to not let his name die,” Mr. Davis said.
The beloved 21-year-old man who always made those around him laugh was shot and killed last month after two armed, masked men burst into his cousin’s house, police said.
Family members said Mr. Hampton confronted the intruders, who were holding some of the family members at gunpoint, when he was shot.
The killing stunned Riverhead, and hundreds of mourners turned out to pay tribute to Mr. Hampton in the days after his death.
Suffolk County police are still investigating the crime and could not provide an update on the status of the case.
Before his death, Mr. Hampton was heavily involved at the college, especially with the Black Male Network, a group of students devoted to being good role models for young men.
The annual scholarship will help students who are following in Mr. Hampton’s footsteps pay for tuition and books.
Mr. Davis said the family chose to focus the scholarship on incoming Suffolk County Community College students because many local students from town choose to go there.
The scholarship, Mr. Davis said, will help to “ease the financial barrier.”
“I’ve been to college before, so I know how that is,” Mr. Davis said.
The scholarship will be handed out this year to two or three applicants, depending on how many donations the fund receives, he said. The family is planning a first fundraiser for the scholarship in May.
In the meantime, Mr. Davis said relatives has been doing their best to cope with Mr. Hampton’s death.
Mr. Davis thanked the family’s friends and others in the community who have been there to help them in the weeks after the shooting.
“We’re hanging in there, you know?” Mr. Davis said. “We definitely appreciate everyone’s support, because we do have a big family and a big community. Thankfully we were surrounded by good people.”
Any students interested in the scholarship can apply at Riverhead High School. Donations to the scholarship will be accepted at Capital One bank branches in Riverhead under the DQH Scholarship Fund.
Donations can also be made to the DQH Scholarship Fund, 57 Maple Avenue, Riverhead NY, 11901.