MEMPHIS Tenn. (WREG) — A Memphis father was shot and killed in front of his children while driving past a Whitehaven restaurant over the weekend.
The parents of 31-year-old Tedarius Day say he was taking his children to the park when he was fatally shot in the driver’s seat.
“I just wanted to be able to touch him. That was my child, my only child,” said his mother, Veronica Neely. “Tedarius mattered. His life mattered. His children matter. And this was not necessary.”
Neely is numb after seeing her son lifeless two days after he was killed in Whitehaven.
“I told him I was proud. I was so proud to be his mom for 31 years, and I loved him then and I love him now,” she said.
Memphis Police say Day was shot in the head Sunday afternoon on Elvis Presley Boulevard. He was caught in the crossfire of a shootout stemming from Tha Table restaurant, where investigators say the suspects were trying to steal cars in the parking lot.
The owner of the business, Alfonzo Turner, reportedly fired shots at the thieves and those same people returned to open fire on him. Turner later died at the hospital.
Neely, who lives out of state, says she had just saw her son an hour before the shooting.
“They were driving down Elvis Presley. They heard shooting. By that time they were in the midst and they say they saw the cars leave so they thought they were behind whatever was going on,” she said.
Day’s stepfather Antonio Neely says his son was in his new car with a friend and three of his four children, taking them to park. The children, ages 2, 3 and 5, witnessed their father’s last breath.
“The only memory they have now is somebody killed my daddy,” he said.
Tuesday, the Neely’s shared the heartbreaking news with Day’s oldest child.
“She was like ‘Please, tell me you’re joking, just this is not real, y’all are not just tell me you’re joking,’ and so you have all these kids who are just devastated,” said Veronica Neely.
As they prepare to lay him to rest, the Neelys are inviting pastors, churches and local leaders to standup against gun violence.
“We have to come together as a community black, white, green gray. We got to come together as a community and stop this senseless violence,” Mrs. Neely said.
Police have charged 20-year-old Darion Banks with double murder, theft, evading arrest and possession of a weapon.
Mrs. Neely wants those responsible to never forget the pain they’ve caused.
“I want them to remember everyday the life they took just not my son’s but the other person, the kids that are left in these situation. I would love for them to see a picture and have the picture hanging every day in their cell every day of their life,” she said.
Banks is set to appear in court Wednesday.
Day’s family has started a GoFundMe to help raise money for his funeral. If you would like to donate, click here.