Columbus grandmother mourns loss of grandson killed hour after 16th birthday

Published: Aug. 31, 2023 at 6:17 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 31, 2023 at 6:21 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - A Columbus teen is killed nearly an hour after his 16th birthday in North Columbus. Officials say the teen was found dead with multiple gunshot wounds in his aunt’s car in front of the American Little League Ball Park on Double Churches Road.

The grandmother of Dayton Willis says the family was supposed to be celebrating life, not mourning a loss.

Thursday morning, on Aug. 31, Columbus police went to Double Churches Road, where a person had been shot. Officers found Dayton dead. According to the Muscogee County coroner, he was shot several times and found with a Colt .38 Special Revolver in his lap.

His grandmother admitted that her grandson was a troubled teen. She says she worked with him daily to get him into tenth grade at Northside High School, saying their motto was, “Never give up. Never give up.”

Dayton’s grandmother says he had a tough time dealing with peer pressure, like so many other teens, but she says she was super proud of him. She and the rest of the family were looking forward to celebrating his 16th birthday later that night, but instead, the family is now making funeral arrangements.

She adds that she’s glad their last interaction together was a happy one, and she will cherish the memory of her grandson until the end of time.

At this time, police have not released any information about suspects or motives. They ask if anyone has information on the ongoing investigation, contact authorities immediately.