Earl Sanders doesn’t want his nephew to be thought of as a statistic, because to those who loved him, he is so much more.
He was the neighborhood’s best basketball player. A Butler High School senior preparing to join the Air Force. The kind of brother who would lose a card game on purpose so his baby sister could win a $5 bet.
But the reality is Datravious Hoskins, 18, on Tuesday became one more young person killed by another teenager over something senseless.
During an argument about a PlayStation 3, police say 15-year-old Zemartae Davis pulled out a knife and stabbed Hoskins in the chest. Hoskins fell to the gravel street in broad daylight less than half a block from his Neptune Drive home.
“Every day there’s more young kids in jail, more young kids in the grave,” Sanders said. “We’ve got to come together and take care of each other and stop this. Nothing hurts me worse than the fact (Hoskins) was ready to make something of his life. Why would somebody take something like that from him?”
On Wednesday, Hoskins’ family gathered at the one-story home he shared with his grandfather, sister and grandmother, Ida Sanders Chenault. It’s the place where almost 20 people come every Sunday to eat Chenault’s baked ham, collard greens, macaroni and cheese, and pineapple cake.
Chenault said she’ll miss seeing Hoskins in her den playing video games and helping her in the kitchen. She was looking forward to him joining the Air Force, which he was inspired to do to be like his closest cousin, Kevin Sanders Jr.
“They took his innocent life outside his body for no reason,” Chenault said. “I just can’t understand it. I want (Davis) to be put in jail for the rest of his life. A life for a life.”
Close friend William Lindsey, 17, said Hoskins – who family and friends called Bubba – was known for being a comedian, a lover. He liked to stay up late making music with friends and playing video games in his grandmother’s den.
“I was never good at basketball but loved to play and he helped me all the time,” Lindsey said. “It’s the kind of thing when we played and picked teams and no one picked me, he’d always be ‘William, come on,’”
While Hoskins’ family was trying to grasp their loss, Davis’ family was doing the same. Davis was charged as an adult with murder and will be detained at the Regional Youth Detention Center, according to the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office.
His uncle, Dumetrius Stringer, said Wednesday his nephew was a socially active boy who loved sports and family. He didn’t know him to be violent.
“It’s a lost situation,” Stringer said. “One kid is gone the other is locked up.”
Stringer said the boys grew up together, and he considered them to be family friends. Most recently they lived about a block away from each other on Neptune Drive. Friends and family of Hoskins, however, said they weren’t very familiar with Davis and didn’t see the teens together often.
While investigators look for answers, Sanders said the neighborhood is beginning to take action of its own. He said some neighbors discussed organizing a neighborhood watch group to scout for danger and create a more watchful presence.
“There’s going to be nothing for nobody in these neighborhoods if this keeps up,” Sanders said. “This is not just our loss. It’s the community’s loss.”