Family, community grieves loss of recent graduate shot, killed in Newport

NEWPORT, Ky. -- A Northern Kentucky community's memorial service for an 18-year-old man known for his sense of style, laughter and "doing the right thing" was held Thursday, one night after he was shot and killed.

D'Angelo Wilson was shot in the back of the head shortly before 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at an apartment complex in the 200 block of Bluegrass Avenue, just west of Alexandria Pike.

The recent graduate of Newport High School was taken to University of Cincinnati Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

Wilson was all set to start college in the next few days.

"It just feels like a bad dream, like one day I'm just hanging with him laughing, giggling and the next I'm never going to see him again," said the victim's friend, Jashawn Stanely. "Like, you would never think this would happen to someone like him."

The vigil brought students, faculty and neighbors to the school on East Sixth Street. As the community tries to cope, they promised to forever keep Wilson's memory alive.

"He always gave off a positive vibe when you were down," friend Jackie Sexton said. "He was the first person to make you smile."

His mother, Shelly Trautman, had plenty of unanswered questions. She cannot understand why her son is no longer alive.

"I just want his voice to be heard. This was a senseless crime and he did absolutely nothing but be the best person he could ever be," she said.

"I hope he gets what he deserves and I'm gonna fight for nothing but that," she said of her boy's killer.

Wilson was more than a friend to those he saw each day.

"We just really clicked together like brothers," friend Logan Dietz said. "I'll never find somebody else like that again."

At the vigil, Sexton said she's still in shock.

"It hasn't fully hit me yet... the fact that he's gone."

Police say witnesses saw a male leaving the scene on foot at the time of the shooting. A male juvenile has since been arrested and charged with murder, according to officials.

Newport police said Wilson knew his attacker "very well." They also said the incident wasn't drug or alcohol related.

Police were unclear Thursday night what may have prompted the shooting.

"(Wilson) was just a great guy and a great kid and to know that someone could do what they did to him out of nowhere is just beyond words," said Brandy Polick, the victim's aunt. 

A friend of the Wilson's family who wished to remain anonymous spoke highly of the soon-to-be college student. The friend said the victim was staying in town up until his first day of school to be closer to his family.

"He was the kind of kid would go out of his way for you," the friend told WCPO reporter Evan Millward. "He was the kind of kid, he could be a role model to other kids his age. You know, you hear so many dull things about kids now. And he was the complete opposite of that."

Those sentiments were echoed on Facebook, where several people used fond words to describe their fallen friend, "Bubba."

"Gentleman. Great kid. Everyone talks so highly of him and it's a terrible loss. R.I.P. Bubba!," wrote Devin Bressler, who posted a picture of Wilson in a white tuxedo.

Samantha Crank said while she doesn't know what led up to the fatal encounter, the victim "didn't deserve this at all."

"So sad. All of Newport is at a loss for words right now. The stories aren't adding up! But all everyone knows is he didn't deserve this at all."

Students at Newport High School don't return from summer vacation Aug. 20. But Principal Tony Watts said the school is trying to come together during a difficult time.

"It affected a lot of the teachers when they got the news last night," Watts said. "Of course it's always upsetting when you hear about a tragedy like this, especially about a kid who always did what he was supposed to do and never got into any trouble."

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact the Newport Police Department at (859) 292-2622 or Crime Stoppers at (513) 352-3040.

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