David’s heart: 14-year-old shooting victim leaves behind lasting legacy

David’s heart: 14-year-old shooting victim leaves behind lasting legacy

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Two months ago, 14-year-old David Vongphachanh and his father were shot inside their Memphis home. Philip Vongphachanh survived, but his young son never woke up.

“He was my first born,” said Philip. “He changed my life."

Philip is speaking out for the first time about his son’s death and the special gifts he left behind.

“Someone could be in a bad mood or upset and his smile would change it all," said Philip. "I just miss him. I’d give anything to have him back.”

Philip longs for his son.

David Vongphachanh
David Vongphachanh (Source: Family)

“The hardest times have been, I look at my other children and I love them just as much as I loved him and wish he was here,” said Philip.

David’s alleged killer, an 11-year-old boy who was a neighborhood friend, is now charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder.

“Right here is where it entered," said Philip, showing the scar on his hand.

It will take months before the case makes its way through the justice system. The Shelby County District Attorney’s Office has released very little about their investigation.

Philip says he’s not ready to speak publicly about the day his son died.

“I wish I could trade places with him, but I believe God saved me for a reason,” said Philip.

For now, his focus is on his other children.

“The hope to raise these babies and be the best father I can be for them,” said Philip.

He finds comfort in a teddy bear. It plays a recording of David’s last heartbeats. Doctors recorded it before the 14-year-old was taken off life support.

Teen taken off life support after shooting

“He still rides with me,” said Philip. “I put teddy in the passenger seat and I talk to him and we ride. I miss him.”

Philip made sure his son’s heartbeat lives on in other ways as well -- through organ donation. Recipients include a boy in Nashville, a man in Missouri, another in Pennsylvania.

“His heartbeat still beats to this day in a 13-year-old out of Louisiana,” said Philip. “I know right now he’s smiling knowing that he has saved and given people a second chance at life.”

Life after death for a child taken too soon and the grieving father left behind.

“Take nothing for granted because you never know what tomorrow holds,” said Philip.

The 11-year-old charged with David’s killing is in juvenile custody until prosecutors determine whether to charge him as an adult. The boy’s attorney, Blake Ballin, says parties are reviewing a psychological evaluation before making a decision. His next hearing is June 6.

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