MEMPHIS, Tenn. — "He made it out of the city of Detroit, now we take him back in a box."
Donovan Mills held on to his hometown roots through his nickname, Detroit. Motown was home, but Memphis represented hope for him.
Roger Brown says his nephew came to Memphis thinking it would be safer.
"He had this great aspiration to want to go to college, and at the time I worked for LeMoyne-Owen College," said Brown.
Mills enrolled in 2011 and would have graduated in May, but now the family is planning a funeral.
"I have his mother who lives in Detroit who was hoping her child was going to come back to her after turning a tassel, now her son will be delivered to her after we close a casket," said Brown.
Brown says his nephew was studying for an exam just moments before being shot near campus. He recalls how one of Detroit’s friends broke the news of the shooting to him.
"He called and told me one of the students had been shot and he believed it was Detroit and it doesn’t look good," said Brown.
Just a bit later, Mills died. Brown says the loss drained his holiday spirit.
"How do you pull out a tree or put up a Christmas tree now after you have all this heaviness and grief on your shoulders?" added Brown.
The family has just one message for the killer: "Give yourself a Christmas present and turn yourself in."
They say this Christmas the only thing on their wish list is closure.