One of Rockford's quadruple homicide victim's Golden Gloves boxer
Calvin Rhodes and Patrick Coleman (right) talk about Demontae.
Demontae Rhodes' father fights back tear talking about his son.
A family member is speaking out about one of the victims in last weekend's quadruple murder, Demontae Rhodes. Rhodes was a talented athlete whose family says had turned his life around. Demontae Rhodes was a Golden Gloves boxer working on turning pro when his life was taken.
According to his father, Rhodes grew up an athlete.
"He's always been an aggressive young man and I knew I had to channel that aggression. I knew I had to get him in something that would challenge him mentally," says Calvin Rhodes, Demontae's father.
He played basketball and football. Demontae was a defensive back and linebacker at Auburn High School. But his dad says when Demontae was in his teens he got into trouble. He left Auburn without a diploma and had some run-ins with the police. But his dad says boxing helped him turn his life around. Demontae graduated from Roosevelt High School in 2009 and started competing in boxing.
"I put him in the Golden Gloves after training for only six months. He had a lot of natural ability," says Patrick Coleman, Demontae Rhodes' trainer.
Demontae didn't win the Golden Gloves. It wasn't until 2011 that he made runner up. This year Demontae's trainer planned for him to do about 100 fights including the Golden Gloves. The day Demontae was killed, his dad and trainer took him to Chicago to spar with a better fighter.
"We rode back for the hour and a half to get back we talked what we were going to do to make it better and we had plans in 2017 to turn him pro," says Coleman.
Although his father is proud of Demontae's boxing accomplishments, it's how he was living his life that made him call his son his hero.
"Don't let Demontae die. Don't let his death be in vain. I want everyone who knew him and loved him, right now take a look at yourself in the mirror and if you don't like the image that's reflecting back at you it's your choice to change that image. And that's what Demontae did," says Rhodes.
Demontae's father says one of the things he's proud of is the fact his son considered the children of Martia Flint his stepchildren.