After he was shot by a party crasher late Saturday, Dante Weir's friends drove him to a local hospital, desperately hoping he would survive. Soon enough about 50 to 60 of his friends were waiting outside of the trauma unit at Delray Medical Center.
"Dante loved everybody and everybody loved him," said his mom, Leslie Young, on Monday.
But Dante, 18, couldn't be saved. Early Sunday, the popular high school senior died, the victim of a "senseless" shooting at a house party in which an uninvited guest fired into the air and then at the partygoers, Delray Beach police said. Weir was shot once in the chest.
"There's not much that we can say other than the fact this is the worst thing a family can deal with," Young said.
Police said they responded around 11:30 p.m. Saturday to reports of shots fired in the 1000 block of Bauhinia Road, an affluent, palm-lined street just blocks from the beach. The shots had been fired at a large house that been hosting a party.
The parents weren't home and alcohol was being consumed, police said.
Delray Beach Sgt. Gene Sapino said an "altercation" precipitated the shooting, but it wasn't clear what that dispute was about. Police and Weir's family were appealing for witnesses to come forward.
"Right now it's an open investigation, we don't have anyone identified as a suspect," Sapino said. "We are asking for anybody who may have been at the party, or anybody who has information, to contact us or Crime Stoppers."
The killing was the second of two murders over the weekend in Delray Beach. And it was also the second weekend in a row in which two people were shot dead.
Just after 5 p.m. Saturday, Patrick R. Balam, 32, of Delray Beach, was shot at Pompey Park at 1101 NW Second Street, police said. That killing appeared to be a result of a "dispute over money," Sapino said.
The weekend before, Reggie Taylor, 56, and Alfonso Hunter, 68, were shot when two men walked into a market and opened fire before robbing the place of less than $100, police said.
Balam was killed just a few blocks north of the community market where Taylor and Hunter were fatally shot. Regardless of that proximity, Sapino said there was no indication that any of the city's four homicides since Dec. 23 were linked.
"At this point they appear not to be related at all, and we're actively investigating each case," Sapino said.
Asked about the kind of person Dante was, Young said her son had many interests. He was also a "very outgoing individual his whole life" who had many friends. His goal was to go to college and become a physical therapist and a personal trainer.
"Dante was very charismatic," she said. "Dante was a gym rat. Dante loved working out. For a short period of time during his sophomore year he was on the wrestling team."
On Bauhinia Road on Monday, neighbors said they were surprised by the shooting.
"Very surprised; it's a quiet area," said Lee Cohen, 25, who grew up in the neighborhood and was back in town to visit his parents. "I grew up here my whole life, never heard any stories like that before, so it's scary."
At the house where Dante was shot, broken glass hung in the doorway. A young man who answered the door said he didn't want to discuss what happened and told reporters to clear off the property.
Police and the victim's mother ask anyone who might have information to call Detective Daniella Quinn at 561-243-7867, Sgt. Gene Sapino at 561-243-7890 or Crime Stoppers of Palm Beach County at 800-458-8477.
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