A story for every victim

Devonte Raye, 22

Devonte Raye, a 22-year-old black man, was shot and killed Monday, Oct. 24, in the 11900 block of Daleside Avenue in Hawthorne, according to Los Angeles County coroner’s records. 

Raye, a former football player at Los Angeles Southwest Community College, had been visiting his girlfriend at her home shortly before he was shot, said Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Lt. Steve Jauch. 

As Raye was getting into his car about 8:41 p.m., a man with a handgun walked up and began firing, Jauch said, striking him multiple times. 

An ambulance took Raye to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead at 9:06 p.m., according to coroner’s records. 

The shooter was described as a black man, Jauch said, but investigators have little information beyond that. “We don’t know for sure if he [the shooter] left on foot or in a vehicle,” he said, “and we have no idea, no clue, as to who would shoot him or why.”

Raye’s friends and former coach say they’re perplexed by the shooting. 

“He was trustworthy and someone all the kids liked,” said Henry Washington, head coach of the Southwest college football team. 

“He volunteered to help us at our concession stands, even after he finished football,” Washington said. “He was at practice every day, and he always gave 100%. He didn’t get to play much, but he was an awesome person.” 

Samantha Thomas, a criminology student at Humboldt State University, met Raye in 2012, when they were freshmen at Southwest. 

“He was the kind of person who would walk up to you randomly and introduce himself and then say something weird and make you laugh,” she said. 

“He was always jovial, I never saw him angry or frowning. If you were in a bad mood, he’d say, 'Cheer up! Things are going to get better.’ He was so optimistic about life.”

Raye lived near Athens Park in South Los Angeles with his mother and three siblings, said Aaron Davis, a friend and former Southwest teammate who’s now studying political science at Concordia University in Chicago. 

The two often met at the park for workouts, he said. “He was usually the first one on the field or in the weight room.”

Raye had a young son and an adopted son from a previous relationship, Davis said, and his girlfriend was expecting their first child. 

“He wanted to go on in football, but when he had his son, he had to refocus,” Davis said. 

“Personality wise, he was just a goofball, one of the funniest people I’ve ever met, but he was also a really good father. He didn’t have a dad, so he wanted to be sure his kids didn’t have to wonder whether he loved them or not. That’s the main thing I want people to take away about Devonte. He was a hard worker, he was funny, and he was a good parent.”

Thomas said she’s worried that people will dismiss Raye as a gangbanger because he was a young black male who was killed in a shooting. 

“That’s completely different from the person he was. He was on the straight and narrow, always trying to better himself,” she said. 

“He was in school, he had a family he was raising, and he was never a controversial person. He wanted more from life.”

Thomas added: Raye's death "makes me feel more invested in trying to change things because this shouldn’t be happening. When you think of black skin, you shouldn’t think of all the negatives, like gangs and gun violence and death. It needs to stop.” 

Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff's Department Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500. Those wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477. 

Contact the Homicide Report. Follow @latimeshomicide on Twitter.

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