BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The tragedy of a young life lost due to senseless violence continues to shock the community. The teen's family has found some peace and are planning to hold a vigil in his honor.
"It's hard, but I'm a lot better than I was a few days ago," said Desmond Payne, father of Desmond Bryant, Jr. "After it happened, it was like an urge you can't get. It was like wanting something and you can't have it. It's like not being able to breath."
"Through our loss we're trying to make as much blessings as possible," he continued. "We decided to donate his organs and we just learned that his heart was successfully transplanted into someone else."
Bryant was shot Saturday, December 12 at roughly 10:00 p.m. He was sitting in a parked vehicle in the 3400 block of Choctaw Drive for what was supposed to be a quick stop.
"They stopped by to see [the 20-year-old's] girlfriend and [the shooter] showed up," Williams explained. "[The shooter] didn't know Desmond was in the car."
Bryant, an innocent bystander, was rushed to the hospital in critical condition, but little could be done. His young body had suffered too much damage from multiple bullet wounds.
"They decided, at the point when they realized he wasn't going to make it, they would just like for him to live on to someone else," said Jackline Williams, the teen's grandmother. "If they could do something to save someone else's child, they would like to save another by donating."
Bryant was a star athlete, making him an ideal candidate for organ donation. Although he had a passion for football and baseball, his father says he had an artistic side, too.
"He loved to draw," he said. "He was a real outgoing person. He was a real free spirit – a good person to be around. He loved animals and he loved to have fun. He never let things get him down. He never had a sad face."
As the oldest of six boys, Bryant spent much of his time with his large family.
"They are just a big family and a close family," said Williams. "He was surrounded with love. We had a vacation planned for the [school] holiday. I was going to take him."
Bryant was a student at Capitol Middle School.
"Since learning of this tragedy, our leadership team secured ICARE counselors to be on campus to receive students who were emotionally affected by this loss," said Principal Viola Jackson. "Furthermore, our leadership team has been in constant contact with the family through this tragic time. On behalf of the Capitol Middle staff, we extend our sincerest sympathy."
A candlelight vigil will be held Friday, December 18 at the corner of 46th and Jonah. It will begin at 5 p.m.
An account has been established for those wishing to help with the family pay for the medical bills not covered by insurance. Donations can be made at Pelican State Credit Union under account number 230852.
The funeral service will be held Saturday, December 19 at Church of God, 3135 Ozark Street.