Javonne Davis was just 15 years old, but he had a lot of plans for his life.
The teen loved football, and dreamed of playing for the Camden High (N.J.) Panthers and later for his beloved Philadelphia Eagles, according to his mother, Jamie Utley.
But most of all, the boy hoped to attend Rutgers–Camden on a scholarship, and escape the violent streets that had claimed his father’s life just two years ago.
Those streets ultimately claimed Davis’ life, too.
He was fatally shot blocks away from Camden High School on Tuesday afternoon as he walked home from school, his mother said. She received a call from one of her daughters telling her that her son was shot and had been rushed to Cooper University Hospital.
“They told me they were going to protect my son, and they didn’t,” said the anguished mother, recovering from a stroke at a Cherry Hill rehabilitation facility.
Davis, a ninth-grader at Camden High, was shot in the area of Euclid and Princess avenues in the city’s Parkside neighborhood. No arrests have been made.
Davis was athletic. He enjoyed boxing and playing football, was involved with his family’s church and and looked forward to attending Rutgers, said his stepfather, Kamel Jones.
“It was a chance for him to get out of the environment he grew up in, but unfortunately the environment overcame him first,” Jones said.
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A law enforcement source said that the shooting may have been connected to a fight at Camden High School that escalated into an after-school confrontation.
The Camden School District said in a statement it is “in shock and mourning following the tragic passing of one of our beloved students.”
“Grief counseling is available to students at Camden High and other schools where students have been impacted by his passing, and the violence that led to it,” the statement continued.
Walter Davis, Javonne’s father, was shot in an apparent robbery in the city’s Bergen Square neighborhood on June 29, 2016. He was Camden’s 26th homicide that year.
Jamie Utley said her son “was generous and he loved to help people,” and looked beyond his family’s struggles with homelessness toward a brighter future.
He’d been named a Rutgers Future Scholar in seventh grade. The program is geared toward first-generation, low-income, academically promising middle school students who participate in specialized university programming, events and mentoring. Students who successfully complete the program and graduate from high school receive a full scholarship to Rutgers University.
“Javonne wanted to get an education,” Utley said. “He had a lot of plans. … It’s so sad someone can take another child’s life and not even care.”