Davon Ellis’ stepmother described him as a kind, inquisitive and happy kid who easily made friends and always had a smile on his face.

“His smile made a whole room change, something I looked forward to every morning,” said Kisha Ellis, 35, of Oakland. “That was all taken away from me. I’ll never see his smile again.”

On Feb. 28, Davon was gunned down in the 3300 block of Brookdale Avenue in Oakland’s Fruitvale District around 7:50 p.m. He was walking with two friends from their football coach’s home to a nearby corner store. Davon’s friends who accompanied him were not injured in the fatal shooting.

Davon’s father and stepmother were in Emeryville when they first heard of the shooting. “We were having a date night watching Will Smith’s latest film when our phones started blowing up,” Kisha said. “We literally ran out of the theater and rushed over to Highland Hospital.”

“I knew something was terribly wrong when they said they were performing CPR,” said Davon’s father, Christopher Ellis, 42. “By the time we got there, it was just too late. I never got a chance to say goodbye.”

Davon’s murder marked the 17th homicide in Oakland since the beginning of the year. Oakland Police Department took special interest in his murder due to his age: Davon was just 14 years old.  In a statement released by OPD, Chief of Police Sean Whent called Davon’s slaying “senseless.”

“All violent crime is tragic, but when the victim is a child, it is even more so. The members of my department and I are committed to the safety of everyone in our community, especially our children.”

“Davon was a very good kid. He never challenged us,” Kisha said. “He was an honor roll student at Oakland Tech where he was a freshman, and had just been awarded a scholarship to attend Moreau Private School in Hayward this fall. His future was promising, I don’t know why anyone would do this.”

The only biological child of Christopher Ellis, Davon’s father remembered his son as a star athlete. “He and his football team traveled the country. They were two-time champions and two-time national champions,” he said. “He probably lived the best life he could have lived in 14 years. I gave him everything I possibly could.”

The family originally set up a crowdfunding page to raise enough money to cover the costs of the funeral. As Davon’s slaying made local headlines, an outpour of support came from around the country, and the family quickly exceeded their initial crowdfunding goal. Officer Whent, Mayor Libby Schaff and California U.S. representative Barbara Lee all personally reached out to the family.

“No one prepares for their child’s funeral,” Kisha said. “You would hope that your child would be burying you, not the other way around. It’s not supposed to be this way.”

“His death won’t go in vain,” Christopher said. “ His name will live on and mean something.” The family intends to use the remainder of the crowdfunding money to create an organization called Vonn World to help other families who lost a loved one as a result of gun violence. The name was inspired by friends who began hashtaging #VonnWorld on social media when remembering Davon’s life.

Davon’s father said he wasn’t another statistic. “He wasn’t just another black kid who got killed in Oakland. His life had meaning. It meant something, and everything I do here on out will be done in his name. From this day forward, nothing but positivity will come from my loss.”

As of Sunday night, no official arrests have been made in connection to the murder, although a person of interest has been detained as a possible suspect who was already in custody due to an unrelated incident that occurred in Hayward.

The memorial service is open to the public and will be held on March 17 at Acts Full Gospel Church, located at 1034 66th Ave. Davon’s family are also planning a march to City Hall  in protest of street violence. Oakland Local will provide more information on the event when made available.

Davon’s father concluded with a message to parents: “Every chance you get, tell your kids you love them. You never know when it may be your last time telling them.”


Police and Crime Stoppers of Oakland are offering up to $20,000 in reward money for information leading to the arrest of the killer. Anyone with information may call police at 510-238-3821 or Crime Stoppers at 510-777-8572.

To donate to Davon’s memorial fund, go to http://www.gofundme.com/nhfs7o

About The Author

My family has been rooted in Oakland since the 1920's, we are deeply involved in Oakland culture--my family is one part of the infamous Escovedo clan. Honoring Oakland's vibrant arts and culture has been an integral aspect of me since birth. You can catch my regular antics on my personal blog naturalisticallychic.com, or at wearyourvoicemag.com, where I serve as Senior Editor & Director of Editorial Projects.

One Response

  1. hank essay

    Wish this young black life mattered to his killers and not just his family.


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