FORREST CITY, Ark. – A dedicated father and a light to those who knew him. A man who called his mother just to check in and a contagious laughter.
These are ways the family of 22-year-old Deante Smith remembers him, the victim of Saturday’s shooting at a carnival.
“He’s a good father,” said Jacqueline Taggart, Smith’s mother. “He has three kids, two boys and a girl. If you’re down, he’s going to bring you up.”
For Taggart, the pain of his death is still fresh. “I’m not like the way I used to be.”
She says the original plan on Saturday was for Smith and his family to visit the Zoo. But instead, they ended up heading to the Little Rock outlets, visiting a carnival that had set up in front of Bass Pro Shop.
Jackie remembers the moment she got the call no mother wants to hear. “I said, ‘come on, come on, let me go find out where my baby is, he got shot’,” she remembers.
In the days following Deante’s death, a suspect’s escape and surrender kept the nightmare going.
Now, Taggart’s looking for justice and searching for answers, and she has a message for those involved.
“Whatever happened and whoever was there,” Taggart said, “let them know.”
There’s still a lot unknown about Deante’s death. Authorities are questioning whether Smith and the shooter knew each other or had a previous altercation.
LRPD arrested 16-year-old Keaton McGee on scene.
He’s now facing possible homicide charges.