On Monday afternoon, Demitri Hampton’s mother, brother, sister and girlfriend visited the bench dedicated in his memory at the Suffolk County Community College campus in Riverhead. They laid flowers at the site and went to eat together to talk about him.
It was a way to remember the beloved young man who was shot and killed while fighting to protect his family one year ago this week.
“Yesterday was kind of a tough day for us, but we made the best of it,” his brother Jamal Davis said. “We’re making it by.”
Mr. Hampton was fatally shot in an early-morning home invasion in Flanders on Jan. 27, 2013. The 21-year-old was staying with his girlfriend at a cousin’s house when two masked men stormed into the home about 3 a.m.
Mr. Hampton was up late playing video games in the basement, and rushed upstairs to confront the armed men. He tried to fight them off in the kitchen but was shot in the chest during the struggle. He later died of his injuries at a local hospital.
His death stunned the area’s close-knit community, which later rallied around his grieving family. He had played on the Blue Waves basketball team and was a member of the school’s anti-gang club. Mr. Hampton was also a volunteer who helped mentor young men in the community while studying at Suffolk County Community College.
Family members established a scholarship in his memory and handed out two awards this spring to Riverhead High School students planning to attend SCCC.
A fashion and talent show fundraiser for the scholarship is in the works for April, Mr. Davis said. Family members also made T-shirts for Mr. Hampton, many of which were worn on Monday by friends and classmates in his memory.
The two masked men who ran from the scene of the crime last year remain at large, and Suffolk County police have said the killing remains under investigation by the homicide squad.
Mr. Davis said the family spoke to detectives recently and are hopeful the killers will be caught.
“They’re still doing some good work, and we keep praying that we’ll get some justice served,” he said. “We just don’t know when.”