WEST TOWN — The outside of Rey Dorantes’ house has in the past week become a shrine to the boy’s life and a future cut short by violence.
Rey would have turned 15 this past Tuesday. But the Friday before, Jan. 11, he was gunned down outside his dad’s house as he talked on the phone.
As a result, the front fence of the Dorantes’ home this week was bedecked with festive balloons and a “happy birthday” banner.
But just to the left of the celebration sits candles, flowers and notes of love for the dead teen.
To compound the family’s grief, Rey’s stepmother, JoAnn Tenev, said Saturday that the family did not know how they were going to bury him.
“We don’t have money for his funeral,” she said outside the home, Rey’s blood still splattered on the door and porch. “We have nothing.”
But in the past week, neighbors sprang into action and raised roughly two-thirds of the $3,000 needed for Rey’s funeral.
Donations to a PayPal account set up by neighbor Peter Walke have ranged from $5 to $300, he said. Most have come from Chicago, but money has come in from Louisiana and New York as well.
Walke said he is hoping more people will help out.
“We really need to hit the $3,000 number,” said Walke, a 32-year-old software consultant. “We’ve still got some work to do.”
Walke came home last Friday to find his street taped off after the shooting. He spoke to Tenev that weekend and offered any help he could.
“She was like, 'We don’t have enough money for rent, how are we going to pay for his funeral?'” Walke recalled.
Walke said he knew Rey’s family very casually, largely from saying hello when he walks his dog.
“I knew his face,” Walke said of Rey. “I was in tears about this.”
Walke printed fliers and posted them across the neighborhood, and the donations started coming in.
“It took off from there,” he said. “We still need to finish off the fundraising. We kind of stalled around $2,000.”
Donations can also be made to the foundation at MB Financial Bank.