The holidays were never an easy time for 16-year-old Quinton Kevon Martin, his memories overwhelmed by one unspeakable tragedy.
In 2010, two days after Thanksgiving, he watched a mentally ill neighbor stab his mother and grandmother repeatedly inside their Clarkston apartment. His mother, Dominique Martin, died in his arms; grandmother Ursula Peterson perished soon after at a local hospital.
Somehow, Quinton persevered, making the honor roll at Alcovy High School in Covington and working double shifts at Zaxby’s so he could buy his first car. He avoided trouble, said his father, Roddrick Foster. But late Wednesday night, trouble found Quinton yet again.
The teen was shot multiple times outside his home on Greenway Drive in Newton County. A family friend, Teneé Grant, was dropping him off after he completed his shift at Zaxby’s, where she was a manager.
Grant, shot three times, survived the shooting and is back at home, just 1 mile away from where the shooting occurred. Her mother, Giselle Pierce, said Teneé is still in shock.
“I considered him my son,” Pierce said of Quinton, who used to date her youngest daughter. “We’re just devastated.”
Even worse, the shooting makes no sense. Newton County Sheriff’s Office investigators say they know of no reason why Quinton or Grant would be targeted. And they have few leads.
“I don’t think anyone actually saw the shooting take place,” Deputy Michael Gregg told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Gregg would not confirm rumors that another Zaxby’s employee, who Grant would also drive home after work, was the intended target. Pierce said late Friday afternoon she was told by investigators they have been unable to locate that young man for questioning.
Grant had parked on the opposite side of the street when an unidentified vehicle pulled up on the passenger side of her car and started firing.
“Her impulse was to get out of the car and run,” her mother said. Grant could not say whether there was more than one shooter.
“This is not the type of neighborhood where you feel the need to look over your shoulder,” Pierce said.
She had moved from New York with her daughters eight years ago, settling on Covington after studying local crime stats.
“It seemed like the perfect place to raise my kids,” Pierce said.
Foster moved his family to Newton County four years ago, determined to keep his son away from the temptations of the street. Quinton was the eldest of three siblings. They were asleep in the apartment the night their mother and grandmother died, and now they’ve lost their big brother.
Eight-year-old Kortez followed his brother everywhere, their father said, and the two often played basketball together.
“It hit him last night,” Foster said of his youngest child. “He broke down crying: ‘I’m never going to see my brother again.’”
Quinton, his father said, made the whole family proud.
“He had big dreams,” said Foster, “and expensive tastes.” He was determined to buy a BMW.
But his passion was to become an airline pilot.
“He knew they made good money, and he wanted to travel,” Foster said. “I told him, ‘You’ve got to keep your grades up if you’re going to do that,’ and he did.’”
Recently, Quinton told his father he wanted to get a tattoo.
“Normally I wouldn’t approve of that,” Foster said. “But this was special.”
The tattoo, inked on his chest, depicts his mother, adorned with angel’s wings.
“He said he wanted to keep her close to him forever,” said Quinton’s dad.
Now, he’ll be buried alongside his mother and grandmother, who were 24 and 44 years old when they died. Quinton joins them, bound by senseless acts of violence, gone far too soon.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.