Father on community crusade after teen son's murder
Father turns his pain into stopping violence
Last Updated: 228 days ago
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -
It has been seven years since 16-year-old Wendale Davis was shot and killed on Bradshaw Street by suspected gang members.
"I received a life sentence on the night of 2006, April 23rd," said Wesley Davis, Wendale’s father. "And what I mean about that is sometimes judge sentences individuals to life literally behind bars, but when my son was murdered, I was sentenced to a mental and emotional life sentence."
There have been leads in the case over the years, but without physical evidence Bakersfield police haven’t made any arrests. For Davis, he said it has been a frustrating and painful seven years.
"I am just disgusted," said Davis. "There are adults, people my age that are completely aware of what their children are into and no one's talking. No doubt there's many out there that's aware of who murdered my son and who murdered other people's children."
Davis has since started the 'Wendale Davis Foundation' in honor of his son and to mentor at-risk youth in the community. The foundation has also put together a gang intervention team. The team, made up of volunteers and former gang members meet every week.
Member and former gang member, Henry Banner, said he knows what life on the street is like and the violence that comes along with it.
"I've been to 19 California institutions, I started when they only had 13," said Banner.
Banner and other team members hit the streets to share their experiences with gang members, and try and get them to think twice about living that lifestyle.
"My record in Kern County speaks for itself, and I want to change that, said Banner.” The way I can change that is by changing some of these youngsters out here that's doing the drive-bys and shooting innocent people."
Davis said the problems on the streets are bigger than what law enforcement can handle, and now it's time for the community to come together.
"We need some folk that are trained and ready for the job," Davis said. "I just don't think our authorities are really ready for this. This thing is happening all of a sudden, and it's an epidemic now in our community."
As the Davis family continue to search for answers, Davis said he knows Wendale would be proud of what's happening in his name.
"He was a very humble young man who would literally give you the shirt off his back, that's the type of kid he was," said Davis. "I look forward to seeing him again one day, I do."
For more information about the Wendale Davis Foundation call (661) 829-2038.
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