Prosecutor: Teen's death should feel personal as Nashville murde - WSMV News 4

Prosecutor: Teen's death should feel personal as Nashville murder rate rises

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Ja'Donte Thompson was shot and killed during a home invasion. (Source: Metro Nashville PD) Ja'Donte Thompson was shot and killed during a home invasion. (Source: Metro Nashville PD)
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Two men are on the run after killing a 17-year-old boy who was trying to protect his family during a home invasion.

Ja'Donte Thompson is the 97th person to die this year from gun violence in Nashville. Officers want the community near Charlotte Avenue to think back on seeing a red beanie and a red jacket, which are details about one of the gunmen that will help police catch the killer.

Thompson's family is in the midst of planning his funeral after his future was cut short Tuesday night.

"I don't know where to go from here. He was my oldest grandson," said Teresa Meriwether, Thompson's grandmother.

The 17-year-old is the latest loved one to propel Nashville toward the highest homicide rate in about 20 years. News 4 obtained the latest numbers from Metro police, and so far in 2017, 44 homicide cases remain unsolved. Officers arrested someone in 53 cases. There have been 97 killings so far, compared to 83 in 2016.

"I can't say that I've noticed any trends specifically. It's always heartbreaking when someone is victimized, be it murder or robbery or burglary," said Danielle Nellis, a Nashville assistant district attorney.

Nellis said Thompson's death is more than a number.

"It is terrifying. We all need to take a moment and reflect," Nellis said. "It's very personal because we, and I mean Nashville as a city, should understand that every child we lose is our child."

Police told News 4 it's possible the gunmen targeted the wrong house. No drugs or money was found inside the Capitol Point townhouse.

When it comes to finding a motive, News 4 asked Nellis if it matters whether someone in the home has a criminal history.

"I don't think that if somebody has been a defendant before or been convicted of a crime that they can't be a victim, and we need to treat them just as we would any other victim with a criminal history or not," Nellis said.

Metro police wouldn't tell News 4 how many tips officers received for Thompson's death in the last 24 hours. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 615-74-CRIME.

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