By Friday evening, the Portland Police arrested his murder suspect, Deante’s sister, Tamena J. Strickland, 30. While visiting his grandmother’s house in Concordia, located in Northeast Portland, Tamena allegedly shot Deante, and sprayed bullets at the grandmother and her aunt. Tamena is being charged with murder and two counts of attempted murder. Investigators said there are witnesses who reportedly saw Tamena drive off in a silver Lexus with a child inside the car. Later that night, Tamena was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center.
As news of Deante’s death quickly spread around town, his family, former coaches and classmates were left in shock. “Strick,” as everyone called him, was a beloved athlete, and gone way too soon.
Here’s what you need to know about Deante Strickland….
1. His Last Words Were ‘I Don’t Want to Die’
Portland Police reported that after being shot, Deante stumbled outside of his grandmother’s house yelling for help. His uncle Damian Strickland told the Oregonian that contractors working across the street rushed over to help and the Dante’s last words were “My sister shot me… I don’t want to die.”
The local contractors called 911, put pressure on his wounds, and performed CPR. According to Damian, his niece shot at his nephew, as well as his aunt and grandmother, who are both named Shirley. “Everyone is shocked,” Damian said. “They were siblings.” While Deante’s wounds were fatal, both women are expected to survive. “We’re confused as to the motive,” Damian added. “There wasn’t any ongoing disagreement or anything weird” between Tamena and Deante.
2. Despite his Height, Deante was a Star Basketball Player Since High School
While Deante was only 5 foot 8 inches, he played with a lot of heart, and became a star member of Portland’s Central Catholic High School basketball team. He started his undergraduate studies while playing ball at Casper College in Wyoming, before being recruited by Portland State University basketball coach, Barret Peery, in 2017.
After learning of Deante’s passing, Peery said he felt numb and heartbroken. “We are better for having had Deante in our lives,” Peery said. “His smile, passion and energy for life was second to none. He lit up a room and made the people around him better in every way. He loved his family, his friends and everyone around him. He had great pride in being a kid from Portland and it showed in how he competed each day. We will never forget him and he will always be with us.”
3. He Played Both Basketball and Football
Only a few months back, Bruce Barnum, Portland State University’s football coach, had recruited Deante to play on the school’s team. The 22-year-old athlete was going to be wearing a No. 9 jersey to which Deante joked, “We might as well work at retiring this one, coach.”
As studious learner, “He’d watch film with me,” Barnum said, looking around his empty office. “He’d sat in every chair.” It’s especially heartbreaking for Barnum since after visiting his grandmother, Deante’s next appointment was a three o’clock meeting with Coach Barnum. “He never missed a sit-down,” Barnum added. “I should have made him get here earlier.”
4. His Little Brother Elijah Is Also an Athlete
Athletic talent runs in the Strickland family, and Deante’s younger brother Elijah is a star player on Central Catholic High School’s varsity football team, and recently received an offer to continue playing at University of Montana.
Memorializing Deante on Instagram, Elijah posted a family photo on the Vikings’ basketball court with the caption, “Love you big bro, I promise to take care of mom and lil sis for you. I promise to carry on your legacy and everything I do is for you now. This pain is like no other and I don’t understand why GOD took you from me, but I will stay strong and faithful. You mean everything to me, you were my hero, my superstar, my role model. I would do anything to just talk to you right now. I miss our one on ones and trash talk that came with it, you made me the person I am today. You made me hungry for the game, you showed me what hard work was. Big bro, thank you for everything. I will be great for you, that’s my word…”
5. Deante was Planning to Earn His Master’s Degree
At just 22-years-old, Deante had his whole life to look forward to after college graduation, and in a video interview before his death, the athlete announced he wanted to pursue his master’s degree after using his one-year eligibility to play football. “It was a chance to be close to my family and help my little brother a lot with school. Graduation means to me an accomplishment and a goal that I set out for myself… I did it… And I know my family is proud of me.”
While mentioning his favorite highlight play, a long game-winning shot against Weber State, and left this message to future students planning to attend PSU. “Don’t take the time for granted, it goes by fast. So, try to enjoy ever moment and have fun.”