Before Daunte Wright’s death made national headlines, his life was filled with loving family members — including his 2-year-old boy.
“My son was an amazing, loving kid. He had a big heart,” his mother told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Tuesday.
“He loved basketball. He had a 2-year-old son that’s not going to be able to play basketball with him. He had sisters and brothers that he loved so much.”
Then in an instant, “he just had his whole life taken away from him,” Katie Wright said. “We had our hearts pulled out of our chests. He was my baby.”
Wright’s aunt Naisha Wright said she’s not sure how the family will cope.
“How do we put life back together after this?” she told CNN. “My mother shouldn’t have to be burying her grandchild. My brother and my sister shouldn’t be burying their son.”
Naisha Wright was on a cross-country road trip from her home in Alabama to Minnesota, where police in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center pulled Wright over Sunday for an expired tag, the police chief said.
After Wright stepped out of his car and then got back in, an officer said she was going to use a Taser on him, body camera footage shows — but instead fired a handgun, killing the 20-year-old.
He called his mother right before he was shot
Moments before he was killed during a traffic stop, Daunte Wright called his mother.
“He called me and said, ‘Mom, I have just been pulled over,'” Katie Wright told “Good Morning America.”
She said she could overhear some of the conversation between police and her son.
“The police officers came back up to the window and asked Daunte to step out of the car, and Daunte said, ‘For what? Am I in trouble?’ And the officer said, ‘We’re going to explain that when you step out of the car,'” Katie Wright said.
“So they asked him to put the phone down, and I heard the phone getting put down pretty hard.”
It was the last time she heard her son’s voice.
“I heard scuffling and the girl that was with him screaming and I heard an officer ask for them to hang up the phone, and then I didn’t hear anything else,” the mother told “GMA.”
“I tried to call back three, four times. And then then girl that was with him answered the phone, and she said that they shot him and he was laying in the driver’s seat unresponsive.”
Katie Wright said she has no idea how the traffic stop escalated the way it did.
“I know my son was scared. He’s afraid of the police. And I just (saw) and heard the fear in his voice,” she said. “It should have never escalated the way it did.”
‘I can’t accept that … mistake’
Wright’s father said the explanation that his son was killed accidentally is no consolation.
“I cannot accept that. I lost my son. He’s never coming back,” Aubrey Wright told “GMA.”
“I can’t accept that … mistake. That doesn’t even sound right. You know, this officer has been on the force for 26-plus years. I can’t accept that.”
The case is being investigating by an independent agency, and it’s not clear if the officer will be fired or charged.
Katie Wright said she “would like to see justice served and her held accountable for everything she’s taken from us.”
While the family grieves, Wright’s mother said she appreciates the widespread condolences — and hopes her son is never forgotten.
“I want to say thank you so much for the support and standing by us and making sure that my son’s name has been heard and asking for justice … and making sure that my son’s name doesn’t get swept under the rug and forgot about.”