Daunte Wright's aunt says her nephew was a devoted father and a beloved brother with a genuine smile and a big heart

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Yelena Dzhanova
·4 min read
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Daunte Wright protest
People gather before curfew holding pictures of Daunte Wright along with Black Lives Matter signs to protest his death by a police officer in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota on April 12, 2021. Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty
  • Kelly Bryant, the aunt to slain 20-year-old Black man Daunte Wright, said her nephew was a beloved father.

  • Wright was also a strong basketball player who was always surrounded by his friends.

  • "He would give you the shirt off his back," she said.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Daunte Wright's smile could always light up a room, his aunt Kelly Bryant told Insider.

When asked about her 20-year-old nephew, killed by Minnesota police on Sunday, Bryant described him as a devoted father and strong basketball player who was always surrounded by his friends.

"He was a good brother, a good kid, a good father who had a huge heart," she said.

His son, Daunte Jr., had been born prematurely, she said. When Wright dropped out of school, he went to work to support his son. Wright took Daunte Jr. to parks and family gatherings, Bryant said, and it was clear he loved his son.

Wright and his girlfriend were driving in a car when police stopped them in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota on Sunday.

An officer fatally shot Wright during the traffic stop, authorities said.

On Monday, Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon announced Wright's death was accidental, saying police officer Kimberly Potter meant to fire her Taser, but mistakenly pulled her gun instead.

Potter, a senior-level officer with 26 years of experience, was on administrative leave while authorities conduct their investigation. She resigned on Tuesday.

Daunte Wright's mother, Katie Wright, said her son had been pulled over for displaying an air freshener on his rearview mirror.

Bryant has started a GoFundMe page to cover funeral costs. Since its launch a day ago, it has already received more than $412,000 in donations.

Bryant lives in Wisconsin, where Wright and his parents also lived before moving to the Minneapolis area, according to Bryant. The Bryants and the Wrights were neighbors, she said. Bryant said she saw her nephew every day when he was a child, and he sometimes helped babysit her kids.

He played basketball in middle and high school. Bryant said he and his friends played basketball outside, too.

School was difficult for Wright. He had a learning disability and struggled with classes. Eventually, he dropped out of school, but he planned to earn his GED in the future, Bryant told Insider.

When the Wrights moved out of Wisconsin, it only got harder.

"They live in a pretty rough neighborhood," she said, adding that it's known for gangs. In the last two weeks before Daunte Wright was shot and killed, Bryant made a suggestion. She had spoken to Katie and Aubrey, Wright's parents, about him moving back to Wisconsin to live with her.

Bryant said the details were being ironed out among family members before Wright's death.

Family over everything

Wright's parents had always valued family. That was evident in their traditions.

"They always had Sunday family dinners," she said. "They always did family time."

Wright is survived by two older brothers and two younger sisters, some of whom have children of their own, Bryant said. The house was always full.

Wright was kind to everyone he'd meet, Bryant said. There were times when she witnessed him giving money to people who were homeless on the street.

"He had the hugest heart. He'd give you money even if it was his last dollar," she said. "He would give it to you if you needed it."

"He would give you the shirt off his back," she added.

Family members are still grappling with Daunte Wright's death and wondering how it could have happened in the first place.

"He was just a good kid," Bryant said. "None of this makes sense to me yet. Like why did this happen? I don't know."

Naisha Wright, Daunte's aunt on his father's side, told CNN in an interview she doesn't believe Kimberly Potter, the officer who fatally shot her nephew, could have mistaken her gun for a Taser.

For her part, Bryant isn't sure what to believe.

At first, Bryant agreed with Naisha. "How do you accidentally mix it up?" Bryant thought. But the feelings about her nephew's death are complex, and she says she has no way of knowing if it was an accident.

"I want to believe that it was an accident," Bryant said. "If it was truly an accident, you know, I forgive her."

"I don't know if we'll ever truly know if this was an accident or if it was intentional, but I just don't feel that this officer did it intentionally," she said.

Read the original article on Insider