Friends, relatives, teachers, and principals called him “Papa,” a nickname DeAndre Ricketts’ mother began using when he was a baby.
DeAndre, 16, was an outgoing teenager known for encouraging others with compliments, hugs, and kisses. “You could be having a bad day and he would come around and make it a good day,” his mother, Sharon Murchison, told msnbc. He often made music by drumming his hands on nearby objects or singing.
DeAndre, a junior at Hoke County High School in his hometown of Raeford, N.C., planned to join the Air Force after graduation. If that didn’t work out, he wanted to work as a tattoo artist.
DeAndre was shot and killed at a friend’s birthday party in Hoke County, N.C., on Oct. 13. The investigation is ongoing.