As a fifth-grader who had been accepted as a flutist into the middle-school band, David Carpenter-Kohler couldn't wait to enter sixth grade. And most recently as an eighth-grader who volunteered to switch to percussion and play the drums in the high-school marching band, he couldn't wait to be a freshman.
"It was something that he had been thinking about for awhile, it was something he was looking forward to," his mother, Leiha Carpenter, told msnbc.
David, 14, was influenced by his older sister to practice an instrument before he entered Barberton Middle School in Barberton, Ohio. "They were like two peas in a pod, partners in crime," Carpenter said. "They stood up for each other. They were together all of the time; you couldn't separate them."
David's mother required that he spend two hours outside each day. He complied by playing football with neighborhood friends. "Anywhere we go, if there's kids, they want to be with us. David would go outside and the kids would run [to him], 'Hey, there's David!'" his mother said. He planned to try out for the high-school team, anticipating a need to balance his schedule between participating in and marching for the football team.
David collected baseball caps that demonstrated his support for the Cleveland Browns. He always joked about eventually joining the roster, his mother said, "to make them a better team."
David and his 18-year-old sister, Ashley Carpenter, were fatally shot during an apparent home invasion on Dec. 31, 2013 in Barberton. Their father later died from gunshot wounds, and his girlfriend suffered non-life threatening injuries from the incident. Police arrested two men in connection to the murders.