WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Dontrell Stephens' shooting in 2013 came at a time before the Black Lives Matter movement got its start, and the police shootings in years that followed that drew national attention.
Eric White struggled to find the words to describe his feelings.
His 28-year-old son was paralyzed by a PBSO deputy in 2013.
He was remembered at a Friday evening service in West Palm Beach.
“My son ain’t suffering no more,” he said. “It hurts me for the guy who shot my son the officer that shot my son he could have tased him just one time, but he shot 4 times and tried to kill my son.”
Dontrell was only 20 years old when he was shot.
A deputy stopped him as he rode a bicycle and apparently mistook his cell phone for a gun.
The injury, the years in hospital, and lawyers fighting for the millions a jury awarded him - it all seemingly taking a toll on Stephens until he died two weeks ago.
Karen Stephens is a cousin to Dontrell who brought her own remembrances of him.
“There’s no way he should be gone from this Earth today,” she said. “I’d like to think that if things had not turned out as they did that Dontrell would have found his path because he had a lot of dreams.”
Those dreams will now never be realized, as a family mourns his loss and his struggles to survive the shooting.
The family believes it was complications from his paralysis, including kidney problems, that led to Dontrell’s death.