It’s a senseless murder you aren’t hearing about.
A young white male was walking to his car on a city street late at night on August 12 when he was confronted by a trio of black individuals. They shot him dead. Police have arrested three people and charged them with first degree murder. But some in the victim’s family can’t understand why the shooting is being called a failed robbery when they say the evidence suggests something possibly more sinister: a hate crime.
David Santucci, 27, had just started his new job as a nurse. According to his family, “he was an awesome guy…he wanted to be a missionary…he wanted to help people.”
The murder happened in Memphis, TN less than two weeks ago. Santucci was killed by a single 9mm shot through his heart. To its credit, the Memphis police department apprehended the suspects in less than fifteen minutes. Various reports say that all three suspects made statements that implicated them in Santucci’s murder. And they’re calling it a robbery gone wrong.
Miguel De Diago is one family member who doubts this killing was a failed robbery. He’s the the brother-in-law of David Santucci and told TheBlaze some stuff just doesn’t add up.
The first and foremost question in De Diago’s mind: If this was a robbery, why did his brother-in-law still have his wallet, car keys, and cell phone? Nothing was taken from him. And witnesses confirm that.
Since the killing, Miguel has worked tirelessly to track down the good Samaritans who rushed to the aid of his brother-in-law as he lay bleeding on the sidewalk. He managed to track down the first three to get to David’s side, Taneshia, Sharae and Brittany. Arriving first on the scene, Sharae tried to apply pressure to the wound in order to stop the bleeding. Brittany searched through David’s phone and tried to call a family member, and Taneshia held David Santucci’s hand and led them all in prayer.
In addition to the fact that Santucci was still in possession of his phone and wallet, Miguel says witnesses told police that the car drove past David, stopped and backed up. One of the suspects (Mario Patterson) got out of the car and walked toward Santucci, fired a shot and ran back to the car, jumping into the driver’s seat and speeding off. Miguel also says the police told him that the 9mm shell casing was found 10 feet from the body — an indication to him that the shooter was not at close range as would typically happen with a robbery.
Miguel told TheBlaze that he tracked the alleged shooter, Patterson through his Facebook account — an account now deleted. He said the page had numerous photos of Trayvon Martin, and he wondered if it’s possible the shooting was a revenge killing for the Zimmerman verdict.
So why call it a robbery? Miguel wonders if the killing is being labeled as such because of the neighborhood’s proximity to Beale Street, the biggest tourist attraction in downtown Memphis. (Elvis Presley’s family home of Graceland is a bit outside of town.) If Beale Street becomes riddled with crime and killings with no explanation, Memphis tourism could suffer considerably.
Still, despite the questions, David’s mother, Darlin Fugit is a woman of powerful faith. She has already forgiven her son’s accused killers — and she’s also certain that her son would have forgiven them too. Fugit told one TV crew, “And if the whole purpose of David dying…and the way he died – for the purpose of people coming to know Jesus, if that’s the purpose, I can understand.”
TheBlaze has reached out the investigating officers handling this case for the Memphis Police Department for comments on their classification of the killing as a “robbery.” When they reply, we will update the story.
The murder comes on the heels of another senseless murder. College student Chris Lane was gunned down in Oklahoma recently and those charged in the shooting are said to have done it just for fun.
Follow Mike Opelka on Twitter – @stuntbrain