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Family says Little Rock homicide victim was shot trying to defuse a situation

20-year-old D'Mahri Dillard's death is the first homicide in Little Rock for 2022.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Four days into the new year and Little Rock police are already investigating the first homicide for 2022. A man was shot Monday night on Ringo Street. 

Little Rock police identified the victim as 20-year-old D'Mahri Dillard.

Dillard's family said that his death doesn't seem real.

RELATED: Police: Little Rock 20-year-old dead after shooting on S. Ringo

"So the last conversation, he had expressed to me why he had left church. So, he said that, you know, that he was ready to give the church people another chance," said Jacquelyn Poindexter, Dillard's mother. 

To his family and loved ones, he was Drew. 

A 20-year-old trying to find his way in the world. 

Today, Dillard was supposed to be enjoying his family with a visit. Instead, his family had to visit a funeral home.

"Drew was like any other child. He had his challenges, but he was finding himself and that was supposed to be our conversation today. About him moving forward and doing productive things," said Comeasha Daugherty, his aunt.

Poindexter said she and Daughtery pulled up to Children's Hospital after hearing about the shooting. 

No one told her that her son had died.

Detectives brought up having to do an autopsy and that's when she discovered Dillard was gone. 

She said they wouldn't let her view or identify the body. Attending a funeral home a day later, she gave them permission to take the body once it's released. Not being able to physically see him, makes his death feel unreal.

"He always said about his family, he'll die for his family and that's exactly what my son has done," said Poindexter.

Family members say Dillard was called to S. Ringo in Little Rock by a friend who Dillard considered his nephew.

The friend was accusing a suspect of threatening his life.

A witness to the shooting wouldn't speak on camera and didn't want to be identified, but said the shooting occurred on the steps of a house where the suspect approached Dillard.

"Drew didn't come over here to fight. Drew came over here to talk to him, and he couldn't handle the talking, so he didn't like the way Drew was talking, so he shot him," they said.

They also said the suspect shot Dillard's friend who he originally was threatening.

"That was the conversation. Getting him to drop some of these so-called friends and turn a new page," Daughtery said of Dillard. 

It's especially heart breaking for Dillard's mother, who lost another son, Isaiah Chandler, to a Little Rock shooting in 2016.

His case is still unsolved. 

"We just want justice. Like we're going to get justice," said Poindexter.

RELATED: Little Rock police take a look at crime stats for 2021, how to combat it