Tuesday, June 13, 2006

This is messed up!

This guy serves in the combat zones in SW Asia and makes it home only to be killed by some punk car jacker! I say find the son of a bitch and hang his ass from a tall tall tree by his ankles til he dies!

On leave from Navy, man is killed at parents' home

Carjacker kills father 3 days before he was to report back for duty

03:06 PM CDT on Sunday, June 11, 2006

By DAVE LEVINTHAL / The Dallas Morning News


Relatives gathered to remember Kameron Pratt and offer one another support Saturday. From left is his brother Keanon; his mother, Dorothy; his daughter; Lailah; his father, Leon; and his brother Kebreon.

The past few days ranked among the happiest of Kameron Pratt's recent life.

A chief petty officer in the U.S. Navy, he doted on his 9-month-old daughter, Lailah, as one might expect of a father savoring two weeks' leave during his fourth overseas tour of duty in four years - the latest in the Middle East aboard the USS George Washington.

Mr. Pratt, 34, hardly knew Lailah; father and daughter had been half a world apart since early this year.

Then Friday night, three days before Mr. Pratt was to report for duty again after minor shoulder surgery, an unidentified carjacker shot him after dragging him from his pickup at his parents' home in Dallas' Red Bird area.

Mr. Pratt stumbled to the porch of the home, where his family has lived for about 30 years.

It was there, in a manicured neighborhood where some folks still leave their doors unlocked at night, that his older brother, Keanon Pratt, found him semiconscious.

Keanon Pratt said he dialed 911. He performed CPR. He cradled his brother.

Kameron Pratt tried to speak. But blood pooling in his mouth prevented it. Paramedics arrived and rushed him to the hospital.

And minutes later, he died.

"You think of how many times he's probably escaped death out there in all the places he's been," his younger brother, Kebreon Pratt, said Saturday at the family's home. "And here he is - home - just trying to spend time with his baby. He was on cloud nine.

"And then this happens."

Kameron Pratt would have completed his active-duty assignment in October, relatives said.

He wanted a college degree; he had 113 credits from Texas Southern University and Paul Quinn College, said his father, Leon Pratt Jr. He hoped to teach social studies and coach sports in the Dallas school district.

That made sense, relatives explained: Kameron liked sports and loved kids. As a child, he'd wear the same pinstriped baseball outfit day after day "as if it was the only clothes he had," Leon Pratt recalled, laughing softly.

Kameron Pratt was a talented youth football player and eventually took up amateur boxing, competing as a welterweight and middleweight in tournaments. A fighter and writer, Mr. Pratt became sports editor for the student newspaper at Lincoln High School, where he graduated.

"He was always very excited. He was the life of the party," Kebreon Pratt said.

"Yes, happy-go-lucky," his father added. "But he could be quiet and very observant. He could be very analytical. Most of all, he loved his family, and he loved his friends."

College led to various jobs, but about five years ago, Kameron Pratt found rewarding work eluding him.

He figured the Navy would help him earn a good salary and enlisted at age 30, nearly 12 years after he passed up an opportunity to enter the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md.

"I felt it was a positive move for him," Keanon Pratt said. "And I was proud. Really proud."

In what appears to be a random carjacking, two men in a gold Chevrolet pickup pulled up next to Kameron Pratt's Ford F-150 pickup, Dallas police Sgt. Gil Cerda said Saturday. Mr. Pratt was parked in the driveway of his parents' home in the 6100 block of Lake Placid Drive.

One of the men, wielding a gun, ordered Kameron Pratt out of his truck before shooting him and stealing the pickup, Sgt. Cerda said. Police were investigating, and the men were still at large late Saturday, he said.

On the same porch where Kameron Pratt lay mortally wounded the night before, relatives stood quietly Saturday, hands on one another's backs, sipping water, speaking softly when speaking at all. The phone kept ringing. A steady stream of friends visited.

Little Lailah, passed from relative to relative this sweltering afternoon, just smiled and watched, her big, brown eyes flashing.

Lailah's mother also serves in the Navy and isn't due to return until August. Leon Pratt said he and his wife would continue to care for their granddaughter, as they had been lately.

"We just hope we'll have a good relationship with her mom when she gets back and that we'll all be involved, all the way," Leon Pratt said. "Together, we'll make sure she'll be raised right, that she'll grow up with good values."

But that won't replace Lailah's dad, who couldn't stop playing with her.

"Nothing seems right now. They took away somebody's nephew, a brother, a father," Kebreon Pratt said in the home's living room.

"A soldier," Keanon Pratt said.

From the other side of the room, Leon Pratt listened. He bowed his head.

"A son," he said.

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