Community Grieves as 8-Year-Old Drive-By Shooting Victim Is Laid to Rest

The funeral for 8-year-old Tristian Hutchins, who passed away after a fight for his life, was held this past Saturday, April 7, at the Williams Temple Church of God in Christ.

Young Tristian died on March 28, after being on life support for weeks after being shot in the head on March 1 in front of a nail salon in the 3900 block of Scott Street in Houston’s Third Ward community. According to police reports, Tristian, and several other young children were sitting in his mother’s car as she reportedly stepped into a nail salon to check on the wait time at the salon when the shooting occurred. Tristian was instantly shot in the head, as a result of what investigators at the time deemed to be a gang-related shooting. Tristian’s five-year-old sister,

Kheristian Hutchins, who was sitting next to him in the vehicle, was also shot in the leg, but survived. Another young passenger, 11, was also in the car, but was unharmed.

Since the incident, investigators have always believed the incident was gang-related and that more than one person was involved.

“We do believe there was more than one shooter and there was more than one firearm used in this incident,” HPD executive assistant chief Matt Slinkard said during a press conference at the time.

A single black vehicle was seen fleeing the scene, but no arrests had ever been made until recently.

This past Thursday, April 5, Houston Police Department (HPD) Police Chief Art Acevedo tweeted out that an arrest had been made relative to the shooting that led to Tristian’s death.
Acevedo announced that they had arrested and charged 18-year-old Devonte Lockett with the drive-by shooting that subsequently killed 8-year-old Tristian Hutchins.

Acevedo also participated in a press conference where he read off the names of 10 other children, other than Tristian, who had been killed by random gunfire in the city of Houston since December 2016. Acevedo challenged citizens to get involved and care about the children.

“We have people being shot in gas stations that are innocent bystanders, in apartments that are innocent bystanders, and in our streets that are innocent bystanders,” said Acevedo. “This community needs to be outraged. There’s no excuse…there’s no justification for these children to be taken from us. Although it wasn’t your child that was shot, injured or killed, your child could be the next.”

After hearing about the arrest of Lockett, Mayor Sylvester Turner released a statement that read:

“Violence against our kids will not be tolerated. We will work overtime and spend whatever it takes to protect our children. In this case I want to thank law enforcement and more importantly the community for providing the needed information that led to this arrest.”

Houston City Council Member Dwight Boykins, who represents District D and has been following this case since the shooting, has been adamant about the need to deal with gun violence in the community.

Boykins recently held a major town hall to discuss the issue and tells the Forward Times that there must be a change in federal, state, and local laws to reduce gun violence.

In the meantime, family and friends remembered Tristian, not only at his funeral on this past Saturday, but also at a community-wide prayer vigil the night before at Emancipation Park.

As it relates to Lockett, he has been charged with aggravated assault in the death of Tristian Hutchins. He is currently locked up in the city jail with no bond being issued.

Lockett is no stranger to the law. Last year he served a 20-day sentence for a misdemeanor weapons charge, according to court records.

Mayor Turner and Chief Acevedo still believe there are more individuals that were involved. They are encouraging all Houstonians to contact HPD with any information they may have regarding the shooting.

The phone number to contact HPD’s Homicide Division with any information that you may have regarding the drive-by shooting that took young Tristian’s life is 713-308-3600.