A narrow embankment at the corner of Gracie and 22nd streets was filled with about 60 well-wishers Saturday night who came to place candles where a 23-year-old man was shot and killed during a car chase just a few days earlier.
As the sun set about 6 p.m., the friends and family of Kwemon Davis released balloons, and the crowd spilled out into the street to watch them soar into the sky. As the balloons rose, oncoming cars slowed to a crawl and honked, and family members embraced one another.
“It’s hard,” said Davis’ mother, Camela Davis, 42, who added that her son had called before the shooting and was heading to her house to bring her money to help her out. “I don’t know what I’m doing. This is like a long dream. … It’s something that’s not expected ever.”
Davis was shot during a car chase on Tuesday that ended when he crashed a 2010 Mercury Milan into a utility pole, police have said. Two men were reportedly chasing Davis, but other details in the incident — including what sparked the chase — remain unclear.
Keon Preston, a chaplain with Stop the Violence who organized the gathering, said Davis was his classmate in middle school. He said Davis was the unintended victim and that the target was someone else in the car.
While police have not yet released any motives or suspects, they say Davis was the only person in the car.
Davis was not the first member of his family lost to gun violence. Three years earlier, his brother Latrell Davis was shot and killed on Gerald Street during an alleged drug deal. The man responsible for the shooting, 24-year-old Nicholas Revish, has since been sentenced to life in prison for second-degree murder.
And another family member, Ronnie Butler, was killed in the mid-1990s.
“It’s getting worse and worse every day,” Preston said of the violence. “It’s time for people to speak up against this nonsense.”
Several people attending the memorial shared some of their last moments with Davis and described their bafflement at losing a man described as joking and family-oriented.
Davis’ other brother, 22-year-old Taylor Butler, recalled how Davis would often stop by after work to hang out and also how he stepped up to take care of his 2-year-old niece.
“He was the happiest man alive. He wouldn’t mess with anybody,” Butler said.
Davis’ godmother, Cynthia Searcy, 52, said family was the most important thing to him — Davis had hugged and kissed her the day before he was killed.
“It’s not right,” Searcy said. “He didn’t hurt anybody.”