The family and friends of Demitri Hampton, a local college student who was killed in a botched home invasion in Flanders more than a year ago, are holding a fish fry dinner to help raise funds for his memorial scholarship fund this Saturday. (more…)
A beloved local college student and Riverhead High School graduate was gunned down in a botched home invasion at his cousin’s Riverside home in January, stunning the close-knit school communities that later rallied around his grieving family.
Demitri Hampton, 21, was staying with his girlfriend at a cousin’s house when two masked men stormed into the home about 3 a.m. on Jan. 27.
Mr. Hampton, who was awake playing video games in the basement at the time of the break-in, rushed upstairs and confronted the armed men. He tried to fight them off in the kitchen but was shot in the chest.
The two men quickly fled the scene and Mr. Hampton was rushed to a hospital, where he died.
Nearly a year after his death, no arrests have been made. Suffolk County police say homicide detectives are still investigating the case.
“I’m praying for justice,” his mother, Juanita Trent, said in July. “I just want this closure for so many people, not just myself. For my children, for his friends.”
He had been a member of the Blue Waves basketball team, and was part of the high school’s anti-gang program. He was studying at Suffolk Community where he volunteered in a mentoring program for young men.
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Jamal Davis says it seems like every day on the news he hears about someone getting hurt.
“There’s always something happening to somebody else,” he said. “So much happens every day. Someone killed in Brentwood, somebody killed somewhere else.”
He thinks about his brother, Demitri Hampton, the easygoing Suffolk County Community College student and Riverhead High School graduate, a former Blue Waves basketball player and beloved role model to his peers.
He said he tries not to think about the early January morning when two masked men stormed into his cousin’s house and shot and killed Mr. Hampton as he tried to fight them off.
Nearly six months later, Mr. Hampton’s murder has not been solved.
“It’s hard to grasp,” Mr. Davis said. “Demitri’s not the only person dying out there, but how do they find out who did it?”
Mr. Hampton was killed about 3 a.m. Jan. 27, when the two intruders burst through the front door of Mr. Hampton’s cousin’s house on Priscilla Avenue in Flanders.
His cousin was sleeping inside, as was Mr. Hampton’s girlfriend.
Mr. Hampton was downstairs playing video games at the time of the break-in and rushed upstairs to confront the intruders, family members said. He fought with one of the men in the kitchen but was shot in the chest during the struggle.
The men quickly fled the scene and Mr. Hampton was rushed to the hospital, where he died from his injuries.
Mr. Hampton’s mother, Juanita Trent, said her family has begun “a phase of healing” since her son’s death.
“We don’t openly speak about it any more,” she said. “When we speak, we speak of the good times. We don’t speak of that night.”
Suffolk County police have declined to be interviewed about the case but said the investigation to find Mr. Hampton’s killers is active. They declined to provide further updates.
Ms. Trent said the detectives working the case have kept in touch with the family since the shooting, most recently at a fundraiser in May for a scholarship in Mr. Hampton’s honor.
“I’m not going to lie, I’m praying for justice,” Ms. Trent said. “I just want this closure for so many people, not just myself. For my children, for his friends. Nothing’s going to bring him back, but I still grieve.”
She said she prays to God to give the detectives the strength to catch her son’s killers.
“I want to keep praying for them to please get these people off the streets so no one else gets hurt,” she said. “That gun is still out there.”
Mr. Davis said he understands that the detectives are in a difficult situation.
“There’s only one homicide unit in Suffolk County,” Mr. Davis said. “It’s tough, I gotta put myself in their shoes.”
Hundreds rallied to support Mr. Hampton’s family after the murder, with vigils and ceremonies held in the ensuing weeks honoring the young man.
Theresa Drozd, a founder of the Riverhead schools’ anti-gang group Council for Unity, of which Mr. Hampton was a member, said the young man was a “super kid.”
“He had a heart of gold,” she said. “Always had a smile for somebody.”
She said it’s frustrating to know that Mr. Hampton’s killers have not been caught.
“It’s almost like you need closure,” she said. “And until you bring that person in, or those people in, and bring them to justice, you’re not going to get closure.”
More than 200 people crowded into Robert Ludlam Park in May to donate money for the DQH Memorial Scholarship that Mr. Hampton’s family established in his name.
Last month, the family was able to hand out the first of what they hope will be an annual award.
Two $500 scholarships were given to Nicole Mauro and Heather Zilnicki, Riverhead High School graduates who will be attending Suffolk County Community College in the fall.
“The scholarship ended up working out good,” Mr. Davis said. “I got to talk a little bit about Demitri and what a response we’ve gotten in our first year.”
Mr. Hampton’s mother used the scholarship as a project to occupy herself in the months following the shooting, Mr. Davis said. But Ms. Trent said the fundraiser also opened up old wounds, as she had to tell her son’s story over and over.
“The hardest part of that scholarship was going out, going to vendors and reliving everything,” she said.
With the fundraiser complete, Ms. Trent has focused her attention on renewing her wedding vows next month, a celebration they had planned before Mr. Hampton’s death.
Ms. Trent said she’ll have a purple ribbon at the ceremony, as a way to show Mr. Hampton is still with the family.
“It’s a celebration of life,” she said.
Since the shooting, Mr. Hampton’s cousin has moved back into the house where the home invasion occurred, Ms. Trent said.
She said she doesn’t fear staying in her house alone; God is protecting her, she said.
“You don’t walk in fear; that’s part of the Devil’s path,” she said. “I refuse to live my life that way.”
Still, Ms. Trent said she’s “missing a big chunk” of her family with Demitri’s death.
“I’m not the same person I was,” she said. “I can’t go back to that same person I was.”
Despite the fact that no arrests have been made in the case, Mr. Davis remains hopeful his brother’s killers will be found soon.
“Six months, you know?” he said. “It’s not too long yet.”
More than 200 people packed into Robert Ludlam Park in Riverside Saturday afternoon to help raise funds for the college scholarship created in memory of a young Flanders man who was killed in a home invasion earlier this year.
The DQH Memorial Picnic benefited the DQH Scholarship Fund, and included a 3-on-3 basketball tournament, music, food and raffles.
The scholarship was set up this spring to honor Demitri Hampton, a 21-year-old college student who was shot and killed in January.
The DQH scholarship Fund was founded by Mr. Hampton’s relatives and will be awarded to Riverhead High School students who are looking to attend Suffolk County Community College, where Mr. Hampton was a student.
More than a dozen teams entered the tournament, donating about $300 in total to the scholarship.
The event also received gifts from Tanger Outlet Center, Riverhead Ice and other businesses, family and friends for the raffle, said Mr. Hampton’s stepfather Theodore Trent.
“They just all volunteered,” he said. “We really didn’t’ have to go asking.”
Wendy’s fast food restaurant in Riverhead has also agreed to give 10 percent of their dinner profits on the third Thursday of every month to the scholarship fund, said Juanita Trent, Demitri’s mother.
“We’re just so blessed,” she said.
People can donate to the scholarship fund by mail at DQH Scholarship Fund, 57 Maple Avenue, Riverhead NY, 11901.
Ludlam Avenue Park in Riverside will host a picnic and 3-on-3 basketball tournament Saturday afternoon to raise money for the scholarship honoring Demitri Hampton, a 21-year-old college student who was shot and killed during a Riverside home invasion in January.
The DQH Memorial Picnic, set to benefit the DQH Scholarship Fund, will feature music, food, raffles, and more, said Mr. Hampton’s brother, Jamal Davis.
“There will be a lot of family there, a lot of Demitri’s friends there,” Mr. Davis said. “We just want people to come out and support [the scholarship,] that’s all.”
The DQH scholarship Fund was founded by Mr. Hampton’s relatives and will be awarded to Riverhead High School students who are looking to attend Suffolk County Community College.
Mr. Davis said friends, family members, and former teachers and coaches have already contributed to the scholarship, which will be awarded next month.
“We do have it up and running,” he said. “We want to send out thanks to everyone who has given to the fund.”
The memorial picnic will run from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. For more information about how to sign up for the basketball tournament, call (516) 355-8899 or email DQHScholarshipFund@gmail.com.
People can donate to the scholarship fund by mail at DQH Scholarship Fund, 57 Maple Avenue, Riverhead NY, 11901.
A scholarship fund has been created in the name of Demitri Hampton, the Riverside man who was shot and killed during a home invasion on Jan. 27.
The DQH scholarship Fund had been founded by Demitri’s mother, Juanita Trent and will be awarded to Riverhead High School students who are attending Suffolk Community College, according to Sharetta Sims, who announced the scholarship at Tuesday’s Riverhead Town Board meeting.
She also announced a May 18 fundraiser for the scholarship called the First Annual DQH Memorial Picnic and 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament. It will be held at the Ludlam Avenue Park in Riverside from 2 to 8 p.m.
“Demitri was a very strong willed young man whose love for his family conquered all,” a release from Ms. Trent announcing the scholarship said. “Demitri was attending Suffolk Community College, Eastern Campus, studying criminal justice. He was scheduled to graduate May 2013. Demitri was also an aspiring actor and comedian. His love for his family and friends is what made him truly special. He was always pushing the people around him to do better and do more. For this reason we, Demitri’s family and friends, have created the DQH Scholarship Fund.”
Ms. Trent is asking local businesses to help the cause by either making a donation to the DQH Scholarship Fund or by donating an item to be raffled off.
“These donations will help others fulfill a dream that was snatched away from Demitri,” his mother wrote.
The donations are tax deductible and Ms. Trent asks that people submit donations on or before May 4. She said people can schedule to have your donation picked up by contacting her at 388-9052 or Jamal Davis, Demitri’s brother, at 355-8899.
People can contact the fund by mail at DQH Scholarship Fund, 57 Maple Avenue, Riverhead NY, 11901 or by email at DQHScholarshipFund@Gmail.com.
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.