SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The mother of the 17-year-old killed in Allendale last week doesn’t know who killed her son or why but he was a good kid who did not deserve to die in the street.
Like many parents, Ebonee Hill gets up and goes to work every day to provide for her children. On one of those otherwise ordinary workdays last week, she got a phone call that no mother wants to get.
Her 17-year-old son De’Anthony Walker was gunned down while walking home from school. Shreveport police have identified three teens in connection with his murder and they are currently behind bars.
Ebonee describes her son as a typical boy who was finding his way. Respectful, loving, and giving are some of the words she used to describe him. He was a creature of habit and you could tell the time by his daily routines, he kept constant contact with his mother through text messaging.
He fought in school like many boys, she says. He wasn’t perfect, but she refuses to allow him to be characterized as a “thug,” which is a life she was once lived but changed to show her children something better.
That doesn’t mean she feels her children are better than others or were somehow immune to the plague of gun violence that persists in urban communities.
“I want people to understand, you got two sets of kids out here. One set of kids, you got a mama like me who is doing her best but don’t know too much. She was in the street so she don’t want them in the street,” Hill said.
“Then you got another set of kids, they’re buying weed for their mama, smoking it with her. They are the man of the house for mama so therefore their anger is different from this anger. My son was angry when I couldn’t buy him a game. This other child’s anger comes from, ‘I gotta feed my sister.'”
As hurt as Hill is about the murder of her son, she has compassion for youth without proper guidance. She understands that unspoken problems in the home sometimes spill out into the street and affect people who have nothing to do with the pain they feel.
She believes this misplaced anger could be a reason for her son’s murder or maybe mistaken identity.
“My baby wasn’t no gang member, he was a respectful young man, he’s not a rowdy person – but he will fight.”
She credits De’Anthony with teaching her how to love.
“Every morning he’d wake up my son gonna get over me and say, this is his exact words, ‘I love you, mama, I’m gone.’ That’s the last thing I heard my baby say, every Monday through Friday,” Hill said. “My boy was the one who showed me. I got two kids, my boy showed me what love was, so just think, ‘You took all I had.’ Even though I have my baby, I love my baby, but my boy was different, a love you’ll never get from a man. Even if you loved a man so much. But your baby, that’s your baby.”
She says she doesn’t know what to feel about the young men who are in custody because she doesn’t know them.
Ebonee Hill doesn’t believe the problems that persist on the streets can be prayed away. Any action taken has to be intentional and not only address violence but the underlying societal issues that show up as violence.
“The kids need more protection, you can’t fight bullets. Figure out how to make them safer in schools.”