Crime - Sacto 911

Police suspect links in shootings of Sacramento, Elk Grove teens

Deonte Whiteside, 17, was shot and killed in front of his Valley Hi home on June 23. A 16-year-old boy is facing murder charges in connection with the shooting.
Deonte Whiteside, 17, was shot and killed in front of his Valley Hi home on June 23. A 16-year-old boy is facing murder charges in connection with the shooting.

Deonte Whiteside and Deston Garrett were cousins raised by mothers who tried to shield their sons from the streets. Even as summer vacation started, the young men often chose to stay home with close friends, trying to avoid trouble.

It couldn’t save them.

Whiteside, 17, and Garrett, 19, were fatally shot two weeks apart in Sacramento last month. A family friend faces charges in the fatal shooting of Garrett in his Oak Park home, and documents filed in Sacramento Superior Court show that a 16-year-old boy has been charged with murdering Whiteside after the victim was lured from his family’s Valley Hi home on June 23.

“I’m angry,” Whiteside’s mother, Nickey Whiteside-Alston, said Wednesday. “They stole so much from me.”

In what appears to be a still-evolving case, police said Whiteside’s homicide is connected to the shooting of a 15-year-old girl in Elk Grove’s Amundson Park the following night. Whiteside’s suspected killer – Danqwail Laquinn Jones – and four other young men are facing attempted murder charges in that case.

Elk Grove police said the suspects in the shooting in their city drove the girl to the park near Elk Grove-Florin and Calvine roads, shot her and then fled. Soon after, the victim showed up at Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center around 10:30 p.m., said Officer Christopher Trim, a Elk Grove police spokesman. The girl was shot in the upper body and is expected to survive, Trim said.

A 9-mm pistol was used in both shootings, according to documents filed in Sacramento Superior Court.

Jones has been charged as an adult with Whiteside’s murder, according to court documents. The suspects were arrested the day after the Elk Grove shooting.

Charged in the shooting of the 15-year-old girl are Daniel Carter, 19, Edward Lewis, 20, Elijah Watts, 19, and Jeremiah Hankins, 17, who is being charged as an adult. Sacramento police spokesman Sgt. Bryce Heinlein said detectives are investigating whether those four suspects also played a role in Whiteside’s killing.

Police would not discuss the connection between the shootings. However, the charges against all five suspects have been consolidated into one criminal case and Heinlein said “we believe they’re connected.”

Standing outside her home, where two dozen candles still sit in remembrance of her son, Whiteside-Alston said Wednesday that her son “was a good kid.” He loved playing basketball and football, and was nicknamed “Tru” for his affinity for True Religion clothing.

“I buried him in True Religion,” his mother said.

Whiteside and Garrett played Sacramento Raiders youth football together, Whiteside-Alston said. Garrett was a football player at Sacramento Charter High School, and Whiteside attended a vigil for his fallen cousin on the school’s campus June 12, the day after Garrett died.

In the days since her son was killed, Whiteside-Alston said Garrett’s mother, Tanya, has lent her steady emotional support.

“It’s been a blessing,” Whiteside-Alston said.

Whiteside avoided the street life, his mother said. Their home was often the site of big gatherings of her son’s friends, with Whiteside-Alston cooking for the groups.

Sacramento police said Whiteside was lured out of his family’s Harrow Drive home around 12:45 a.m. and killed. Investigators have not said what lured Whiteside outside.

“He was always at home; that’s why they had to come to our house and kill him,” Whiteside-Alston said. “My son was not a street kid. I wanted to know who my son was around. I built a house of love, a safe house.”

Ryan Lillis: 916-321-1085, @Ryan_Lillis