"I told him I didn't want him to leave this world."
(Joshua Davis,18, with his father, Greg Davis, above. Left, Greg and Lisa Davis at home 33 hours after Joshua's murder (see entry below).
Joshua Davis was tall and skinny and chocolate-brown. The middle child, he filled his parents' house with laughter--and a certain amount of drama.
Asked what the 18-year-old liked most to do, his parents, Greg and Lisa Davis, answered in unison: "Dance." He loved music and singing, too. He played the drums in church. He played basketball before dropping out of Washington High School. He worked as a prep cook at the Red Lobster restaurant in Inglewood.
Joshua was walking back to the front door after seeing his girlfriend off just after 1 a.m. Tuesday. His parents were inside their Athens house, asleep. Drive-by shooters came down the block, headlights off.
At the sound of the gunfire, Lisa Davis bolted from bed and cried out Joshua's name.
Joshua was lying between the house and curb. He had a bullet wound in the back of his head. He was still breathing. There was blood coming out of his mouth. His parents crouched down. "I told him I loved him," Greg Davis said. "I told him I didn't want him to leave this world." Joshua died before their eyes on the pavement.
Greg Davis works security. His wife works in construction administration. They live in a yellow house in a nice neighborhood of trimmed green lawns and curvy streets. They have lived there about seven years.
Their daughter, age 9, was also shot in a drive-by shooting four years ago--just around the corner. Struck in the back, she underwent surgery and survived. Police arrested a suspect. He was 13. The daughter was also was on hand Tuesday to witness her older brother's murder. Her parents are worried about her.
Less than two days after the murder, neither Greg nor Lisa Davis had slept. Their eyes were red from weeping. Still, they managed a cordial welcome for a reporter who showed up without warning on the doorstep. Joshua's brother, 20, introduced himself with solemn formality and a handshake. Greg and Lisa offered a chair.
At one point, Lisa Davis said she "has so much anger," at the killers. But she did not appear angry. She wore a tired look and leaned on an elbow. Throughout the interview, husband and wife exchanged gentle glances, and finished each other's sentences. People came in and out, bringing trays of food. Everyone in the house spoke in soft voices, as if something fragile were about to break.