It was a difficult Father’s Day for a Roanoke man who is grieving after his teenage son was killed in a shooting last week.
According to authorities, the shooting happened shortly after midnight on Thursday in the 2300 block of Tuckawana Circle NW.
With no arrests made so far, Lee’s family is still searching for answers.
It was all smiles and celebration just two weeks ago, when Nickalas graduated from Patrick Henry High School. But this Father’s Day wasn’t the same for his dad, Darrell Lee.
“I’ve actually just tried to accept today is just not Father’s Day,” Lee said.
Lee became emotional recalling the moment he found out about the shooting.
“I can’t describe it,” he said. “There was a sense of emptiness, regret, of what could’ve, should’ve, would’ve. Why didn’t I keep him safe?”
Nickalas had not decided what he wanted to do for a career, but he loved drawing and music, his father said.
“He could play the drums just by listening to a song,” Lee said. “He could play a guitar as if he owned it.”
Nickalas was the youngest kid in the family, Lee said. He and his wife adopted Nickalas and raised him from the time he was three months old.
“We said, ‘Lord, if you want us for him to be in our family, then you will make it happen,'” he recalled.
Lee said he is now leaning on his faith as he grieves. He said he wants justice for his son but forgives the person who shot Nickalas.
Lee said he also wants other people to reach their full potential and turn away from violence.
“If you want to do better, if you want to live better, do it,” Lee said. “Don’t let other things stop you. Don’t let other people say that you have to live this way.”
For Lee, the pain of losing a child is still raw. But he said eventually, he will focus on the happy memories to celebrate Father’s Day once again.
“Father’s Day will have a different meaning for me from now on,” Lee said. “But I’m not going to make it sad. We’re going to celebrate Nickalas’s life because of what he could have been.”
A memorial service in Nickalas Lee’s honor is planned for Tuesday. It will be held at 11 a.m. at Faith Fellowship Church in Wirtz, Lee said.
The church is providing busing to fellow students, which leaves from Patrick Henry High School at 10 a.m. that day, he added.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Roanoke Police Department at 540-344-8500.