Five years have passed since 20-year-old Darius Walton was killed waiting for a ride outside a Clarksville apartment with a friend.
Clarksville Police believe the unsolved murder can be put to rest if the right people come forward.
Walton’s mother, Lillian Santiago, was home recovering from knee surgery when she got the call her son had been shot. Her instinct was to go to the hospital, but sadly it was already too late.
“His friend was found first because he was in the front of the apartments bleeding,” Santiago said. “My son definitely was running, so he was found on the side of the building.”
It all happened on June 12, 2016, on Jack Miller Boulevard in Clarksville. Other friends inside the apartment heard the shots and called 911.
“We believe there were two shooters because there were two different calibers of ammunition located,” Clarksville Police Department Homicide Detective Keenan Carlton said. “We don’t believe based on the investigation that Darius or his friend had a gun or ever fired any shots back.”
Police believe the shooting was targeted, although the suspects have never been brought to justice.
“We believe some words had been shared between two different groups of people on social media, and that ultimately led to the shooting,” Detective Carlton said.
For Santiago, timing couldn’t have been worse. Her sister had passed away five months prior, leaving her to raise her 2-year-old niece. Just recently, her mom also passed away.
“It changed my other two kids, my niece, she saw me cry so much. My mom, she wanted justice before she passed away – that was like her baby,” Santiago said. “Not only did they lose their brother, but they were losing their mom at some point. And I had to get it together.
Even though five years have passed, Santiago still feels like the shooting was yesterday. Time passing hasn’t made things any easier for investigators, either.
“As a detective, I think most of us would agree that a lot of these cases, you try to turn work off when you go home, but you end up sitting there at the house eating dinner, and you’re thinking about maybe I should speak to this person or maybe I could do this or maybe I could do that. You end up thinking about your cases when you go home,” Detective Carlton said.
Now, Carlton encourages anyone with information to come forward in order to finally give Walton’s family some peace.
“It’s just a matter of doing the right thing, and sometimes that requires courage on their part,” Detective Carlton said.
Santiago fears her son’s killers are still on the streets.
“It hurts. I mean at the end of the day, that’s a lot of gunshots, you know, to both of them. Not including the ones that were missed,” Santiago said. “I can’t even describe the feeling, the hurt. It still hurts like it happened yesterday. I want my son back.”
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If you have information on what happened, police will work with the District Attorney’s Office to protect and keep you safe.
Tips can be submitted by calling the Clarksville Police Department directly at 931-648-0656 ext. 5046. You can also submit tips anonymously by calling Crime Stoppers at 931-645-TIPS. Information leading to an arrest can also lead to a cash reward.