Day’von Hann during a field trip with United Playaz. (Courtesy Krystal Morales)

Teen shot in Mission District remembered as ‘rising star’ of youth gun violence prevention group

In a last text message to the daughter of United Playaz program coordinator Krystal Morales, Day’von Hann said he would stop by the youth violence prevention organization on Tuesday.

But Hann would not be able to make good on his promise.

Just after midnight Monday morning, the 15-year-old was shot at 24th and Capp streets, where he was pronounced dead a short time later, taking his last breath just blocks from his Mission District home.

Responding officers found the teen suffering from gunshot wounds, as an unidentified vehicle sped away. San Francisco Police Department Spokesperson Robert Rueca said on Tuesday that the pursuit took officers “through city streets” until they “lost the vehicle on the [U.S. 101] highway” going southbound. No arrests have been reported.

It is unclear who or what Hann, who was described this week as respectful and dependable by Morales and others who worked with him, encountered on his path through his neighborhood in the early morning hours on Monday.

“It’s summertime and kids hang out. It happened late at night. I don’t know where he was going or where he was coming from, but it’s real tragic — he lived close to where he was killed,” said Rudy Corpuz, founder and executive director of United Playaz, which Hann was a member of for most of his teenage years. Corpuz said that to his knowledge, Hann “was not involved in any type of street or gang activity.”

Morales, who worked with Hann closely in recent years, said that he was not known to be “an instigator.”

“He didn’t initiate conflict. He was the type of person who could come into a circle and be OK and be accepted for who he is because he was up front and honest,” she said.

While Hann’s family did not respond to requests for comment, the murder shook his community and those that fight to save the lives of San Franicsco’s young men and women.

Most who knew Hann at United Playaz referred to him as “Day Day,” according to Corpuz, who remembered him as a respectful kid with “the biggest smile” — the kind that says “thank you and no thank you” — and for his comedic talents.

When Morales first joined the organization as a case manager, Hann, who was attending Bessie Carmichael Middle School at the time, rechristened her as “Miss K.”

The name stuck, and the two formed a close bond over the years, said Morales, who now works as the organization’s High School and Transitional Age Youth Program Coordinator.

Morales mentored Hann and confirmed that he was “set to attend Abraham Lincoln High School in the new school year.”

Although Hann was the youngest of three brothers participating in United Playaz’ programming, he kept his elder siblings “in check,” said Morales.

“He was so mature beyond his years. Together the three came to us as this amazing trio,” she said. “He was our voice of reason and wisdom.”

Morales described Hann as “academically focused,” and as a young man who enjoyed loving family relationships.

“He was on the roadmap of a rising young star who was well-mannered with poise and intellect,” she said. “He had pizzazz and charisma and he was also very soft spoken.”

Her voice breaking with tears, Morales said that Hann was funny in a special type of way.

“He was natural. He’d make a face and everybody would start laughing,” she said.

Though well-liked by all whom he encountered at the organization, Morales said that Hann didn’t come to United Playaz as a “perfect” child.

“He didn’t come in perfect. There was no expectation that he needed to be perfect. He was good with that. He knew it was OK to bump his head as long as you stand up and brush yourself off and strive for greater,” said Morales.

According to his mentors, Hann strived to help his community in the last years of his short life.

Last year, he handed out hundreds of flyers as a youth outreach worker for United Playaz’ annual gun-buyback program, said Corpuz.

When the organization needed volunteers to for its monthly cleanup events held throughout The City, Hann and his brothers would show up bright and early, according to Morales.

She proudly remembered Hann, who at times reverted to his teenage shyness, holding up posters calling for black equity while at the frontlines of a Martin Luther King Jr. Day march.

In the days after Hann’s murder, his community held a healing circle inside of the United Playaz’ headquarters, to create space for mourning. Morales said that the organization is contemplating launching a scholarship program in his memory, to “encourage other young, bright rising stars to continue on their path to greatness.”

lwaxmann@sfexaminer.com

 

Krystal Morales standing next to Day’von Hann during his 8th grade graduation from Bessie Carmichael Middle School. (Courtesy Krystal Morales)

Day’von Hann (center left) pictured alongside his brothers (on the left) on a United Playaz High School Team field trip. (Courtesy Krystal Morales)

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