CHAMPAIGN ‚ÄĒ When he was 8, David Sankey was the caretaker for his mother, who was dealing with breast cancer.
At 16, he was shot on the street, and the boy his family called “the comedian” was dead.
Saturday, the Garden Hills extended family was talking about the young man and his jokes, his love for rap music, the large group of girls that he hung out with and his sweetness ‚ÄĒ all reasons they are befuddled about why he was shot near his home Tuesday night.
“He was special, a funny and respectful son,” Yvonne Johnson said Saturday.
“He loved to dance,” said his aunt, Jury Jones.
“He’d make his own music and videos on his laptop,” his mother said, showing the equipment in his bedroom. “He always loved rap music.”
She was absolutely sure her son had no connection at all with gangs.
“He didn’t hang out with boys. He’d hang out with a group of girls. I don’t know if one of them was his girlfriend,” she said.
A READY student, Mr. Sankey earlier attended Champaign Central High School.
He has a brother, but the brother doesn’t live around here, his mother said.
“David spoiled his mother,” she said. She said that when she had cancer, he would administer medicine to her. Soon after, regular caretakers visited the house.
No arrests have been made in connection with Tuesday’s fatal shooting, the fifth in Champaign this year.
Citing an “overabundance of caution,” Unit 4 and Champaign police officials announced the next day that Friday night’s scheduled Central-Centennial football game would be moved to 8 a.m. Saturday.
It was supposed to be a festive celebration for the district and its high schools ‚ÄĒ the first football game between city rivals at turf-clad Tommy Stewart Field.
Instead, a tragedy left a dark cloud over the annual Champaign showdown.
“This town is such that all of these kids know one another,” Central coach Tim Turner said after the Maroons’ 48-21 victory over Centennial. “With the loss of this young man, all of these kids knew him. So it felt a little bit weird.”
Turner estimated a peak of 500 fans in the metal bleachers outside Centennial High School, deeming it “a pretty good crowd” given the circumstances.
A visitation for Mr. Sankey will be from 5-7 p.m. Friday at Walker Funeral Service, 704 N. Fourth St., C, his mother said. He will be buried in Centralia.
Johnson said flowers could be sent to the funeral home. There is also a fund in his name at Regions Bank, 111 S. State St., C.