Deshaun Swanson’s life celebrated at Butler-Tarkington game

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- A community comes together to remember a life cut short.

Family, friends and neighbors joined the Indy Steelers youth football team to dedicate a day of games to Deshaun Swanson at the Tarkington Classic in the Butler Bowl.

“It just made me feel real sad and hurt, just seeing them,” said Deshaun’s aunt Tasha Morris. “I’m used to seeing him out there with them.”

The 10-year-old was killed one year ago in Butler-Tarkington during a drive-by while his family attended a memorial service.

Family and friends say they’ve spent a year waiting for answers about who killed this little boy. But Saturday, they set those questions aside to focus on how to celebrate the life Deshaun Swanson had.

As they remembered Deshaun, one boy sang a surprisingly powerful rendition of "Amazing Grace."

The crowd was shaken. The song, many felt, was their story.

Pain and sadness has filled each of the 365 days without Deshaun.

“It’s just like reliving it all over again,” said Morris. “It’s just hard.”

While his friends felt the excitement of playing on a college field, many felt the presence of their one missing teammate.

“I was about to cry because I really  miss Deshaun and we did a lot of stuff together,” said Joseph Jefferson II, one of Deshaun’s best friend.

At the event, focused on how they can all move forward from Deshaun’s death.

“We’ve dedicated everything to him,” said Deshaun’s former coach Ronnell Atkins. “Not just on the football field, but in school and off the field. So we just kind of dedicated our lives to his memory.”

After the balloon release, Deshaun’s former teammates took to the field for their game. They and their coaches and a supportive community took comfort seeing each play today dedicated to the boy who loved the game more than almost anyone.

“This is a great way to be celebrating his life and he will be very pleased I believe,” said Atkins.