PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — A Portsmouth family went back to the scene of a deadly shooting Thursday night to honor a young life cut short.
Delante Eley was just 23-years-old when he was shot and killed on Ketch Drive in the Churchland section of Portsmouth Tuesday evening. His family and friends held a candlelight vigil at the spot where Eley was killed. His mother, Shelita Eley, made a plea to stop gun violence, something residents on Ketch Drive are concerned about now more than ever.
Quiet, safe, kid friendly — these are just a few words people used to describe the neighborhood around Ketch Drive in Churchland. But, now the feeling of security in the neighborhood has been replaced by something else — fear.
“We are fearful for our kids, not just our kids, but other kids in the neighborhood and their parents,” said resident Leon Watkins.
One resident was so scared about what happened he asked 10 On Your Side to conceal his identity during the interview: “It’s been a pretty good neighborhood until the shooting incidents started happening. I’m kind of scared to let kids go out and play.”
The first incident that alerted neighbors was on February 20. Police were called out to Ketch Drive for a report of shots fired. That time no one was injured. Then on the same street this Tuesday, Eley was shot and killed near his grandmother’s house. Neighbors say Eley was in a car when another car pulled up, and someone opened fire. The two shooting incidents have some residents even reconsidering their address.
“My wife wants to move because of it, maybe somewhere out of the range of shootings,” said Watkins.
Shelita Eley continued the vigil Thursday evening with a prayer circle. Some relatives shared memories of him.
“He was my heart, out of all my nephews,” said Eley’s aunt, Sandra Clark. “He was a very cheerful young man, he loved to smile, he had his jokes, but he would always give you a hug.”
Family also shared the heartache of losing a 23-year-old father.
“Overall he was a good guy,” Shelita Eley said. “He was a good father, brother, son, nephew and grandchild. His life was taken too soon.”
Investigators are still looking for a black vehicle seen leaving the area of the shooting Tuesday evening. If you have any information that could help police, please call the Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP.