WASHINGTON - The murder of a young man in Southeast D.C. is being felt throughout our region.
TaQuan Pinkney went to high school in Prince George's County in Maryland and was known as a role model to kids at a Southeast D.C. community near his mother's home.
The 18-year-old was a recent graduate of Suitland High School with plans to go to college. He was killed Sunday afternoon on Stanton Road as he walked to the store to buy a drink. Investigators have told his family he wasn't the intended target.
"I just keep trying to tell myself that God has something better in store for him then here," said Yolanda Pinkney, TaQuan's mother. "To get through everything I'm going through, it hurts so bad."
She made sure to teach her son to stay off the street and out of trouble to avoid the violence in their Wellington Park neighborhood.
"He was saving his money up because he was like, 'Mom, I want to move. Mom, we're moving out of here,'" she said.
Throughout high school, TaQuan came to Horton's Kids, a community center near his home on Pomeroy Road. He did so well there that he was even featured in their brochure.
"He used to play basketball and stuff with us," said Andre, one of the children at the center.
Many of the young children at Horton's Kids know exactly what happened Sunday.
"I knew it when I was coming from church and then I saw the yellow signs," said a boy named Joseph. "And then my sister came in and said, 'Tay got shot.'"
He went on to say that TaQuan would never hurt anyone and was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
For the staff at Horton's Kids, it's tough to explain how you can do everything right and still lose your life. Rahaman Kilpatrick said children at the center have become numb to people dying because they hear about it so often.
"Almost to protect their own selves, you know? Because it's the same neighborhood they have to live in, the same neighborhood they have to go to school in," Kilpatrick said. "So when the kids see that happen to Tay, it makes them say, 'What's to stop that from happening to me?'"
As TaQuan's family prepares to bury him, they are pleading with their neighborhood - don't let this devastating crime go unsolved.
"I want justice for my baby because he didn't deserve this," said Pinkney's mother. "I want somebody to say what they saw, what they know, what they heard. Because this is not right."