Daunte Wright became a father while he was still a teenager, and seemed to relish the role of a doting young dad, his family and friends said.
A family photo shows a beaming Wright holding his son, Daunte Jr., at his first birthday party. Another shows Wright, wearing a COVID-19 face mask and his son wearing a bib with the inscription, “ALWAYS HUNGRY.”
Wright, 20, was fatally shot Sunday by a police officer in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center. As protesters and civil rights advocates called for justice and police accountability over his death, his family asked people to also remember his life.
“He had a 2-year-old son that’s not going to be able to play basketball with him. He had sisters and brothers that he loved so much,” his mother, Katie Wright, said Tuesday on “Good Morning America.”
Police have described the shooting of Wright as “an accidental discharge” that happened as officers were trying to arrest Wright on an outstanding warrant after stopping his car for having expired registration tags. Wright’s mother said he called her just before he was shot and told her police had pulled him over because he had air fresheners hanging from his rearview mirror.
The city’s police chief, who resigned Tuesday, said he believed the officer who shot Wright, Kim Potter, meant to use her Taser on him, but instead shot him with her gun. A prosecutor on Wednesday charged Potter, who also resigned, with second-degree manslaughter.
According to court records, Wright was being sought after failing to appear in court on charges that he fled from officers and possessed a gun without a permit during an encounter with Minneapolis police in June.
A search of court records shows Wright had a minor criminal record, with petty misdemeanor convictions for possession/sale of a small amount of marijuana and disorderly conduct.
After he was killed Sunday, his family learned of a connection between Wright and George Floyd, the Black man whose death under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer nearly a year ago sparked nationwide protests. Floyd’s girlfriend, Courteney Ross, said she worked with Wright while he was a student at Edison High School. Ross was a teacher’s assistant and counselor at the school, said Mason, who worked with Ross.
”(I’m) crushed. It’s enough that Floyd is gone, but for one of my youths to be gone as well,” Ross said Tuesday during a protest against police brutality in Minneapolis.
“He was just a wonderful, beautiful boy,” Ross said.
AP writer Tim Sullivan in Minneapolis; Kat Stafford in Detroit; and AP researcher Rhonda Shafner also contributed to this report.
Find AP’s full coverage of the death of Daunte Wright at: https://apnews.com/hub/death-of-daunte-wright