Family says fight over a girl led to shooting that killed 23-year-old

Devere Blake, 23, was killed Sunday night when he was shot a Kennesaw-area apartment complex, according to police. (Family photo)

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Devere Blake, 23, was killed Sunday night when he was shot a Kennesaw-area apartment complex, according to police. (Family photo)

Devere Blake thought he could stop the argument, his mother says

He was taught to help others, and Devere Blake made it his goal to do just that, his mother said.

“Devere was the type of person who wanted peace," Nichole Blake said Friday. “He’s never even been in a fight. He just wanted peace.”

That’s why the 23-year-old went to a Cobb County apartment complex the night of Oct. 11, his mother said. Devere Blake didn’t want to fight, and he didn’t want his younger brother and cousin involved with it either. He thought he could prevent two groups from fighting, an argument that started over a teenage girl, Nichole Blake said.

Instead, Blake, who lived in Acworth, was shot and killed by a 16-year-old, according to police. A total of 14 teenagers and young adults were charged with murder after the shooting, including Blake’s teenage relatives.

“If my son didn’t stand up for those boys, all of them would’ve been killed," Nichole Blake said.

Now, the grieving mother must prepare for her older son’s funeral while another son and nephew remain in the Cobb jail. Amere Blake, 17, and Jonathan Bateman, 16, are among those charged with murder.

Investigators believe an ongoing dispute between two groups of teenagers and young adults led to the gunfire. Arrest warrants state the shooting was gang-related, though the Blake family says the brothers and their cousin were not gang members. Under Georgia law, those who are parties to the crime can also be charged with murder.

According to Cobb police, the violence unfolded about 10:20 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 11, in the 3700 block of Towne Crossing. The apartments are located off George Busbee Parkway, not far from Kennesaw State University.

After the shooting, some tried to leave the scene but were later detained and arrested. Among those charged was Kanye Leonard Sorrells, 16, who fired the fatal shot, his arrest warrant states. Several others helped coordinate the fight, bringing guns and a getaway car, according to police.

Nichole Blake says police were involved with some of the suspects about 30 minutes before her son was killed. That’s when a Kennesaw homeowner called police to report carloads of young people outside her home.

A city of Kennesaw officer arrived at the home and told the teens and young adults they would have to hang out elsewhere, a police spokesman said Friday. There was no probable cause for the officer to search inside the cars, according to Officer Scott Luther.

But Nichole Blake said there were guns in the vehicles. The son of the homeowner who called police was later one of the suspects charged with murder, Blake said.

Now, Blake and her family are struggling to understand how Devere, a young father known for his loving demeanor, could have been the victim of a shooting.

“Devere was a wonderful son. He really was,” Nichole Blake said. “Every day, throughout the day, he told me that he loved me and he always gave me hugs.”

Others charged in the shooting include: Jakobe Jaheim Joseph, 17; Sean Andrial Gross, 18; Maceo Lydell Madison Jr. 17; Danielle Sewell, 20; Rodriguez Matthews, 16; Jovan Sherden, 16; Treazure Lanae Walker, 17; Terrance Bernard Gilbert, 16; Darryl Lamar Daniel, 16; Juquavious Antwan Ryan, 18; and Elijah Harrison, 16. They were each charged with murder and aggravated assault with the exception of Daniel, who faces a single murder charge, records show. All of the suspects were being held without bond late Friday at the Cobb jail.

The homicide investigation is ongoing, and anyone with information is asked to call Cobb detectives at 770-499-3945.

In addition to his mother and grandmother, Devere Blake is survived by his girlfriend and the couple’s 7-month-old daughter, two sisters, two half-brothers and numerous other relatives. Funeral arrangements were pending late Friday. A GoFundMe page has been created to assist the family.