TEMPLE HILLS, Md. — Friends and family are heartbroken over the killing of Danny Kelly, Jr., who made a name for himself as a professional boxer. He was shot and killed in what police are investigating as a possible road rage incident.
Danny Kelly Jr. was driving northbound on the 4400 block of St. Barnabas Rd. with his girlfriend and three children when another car pulled up and shot into the vehicle.
The shooting, which happened just before 4:40 p.m. on Christmas Eve, left Kelly dead, and his family in shock.
"I still can't believe that he won't answer my call," said his younger cousin Brian. "Which is crazy because I was just with him."
According to the family, Kelly was leaving a shopping trip with his family when the shooting occurred. The brazen attack did not injure the girlfriend or the three children, ages 4, 7 and 9.
"He was a wonderful dad," said his godmother, Bernadine Walker. "He loved his babies. He loved his children."
Kelly was well-known in the boxing community. He competed professionally in places like the Barclays Center and Maryland Live. According to BoxRec.com, he had a record of 10-3-1 on the professional circuit, including nine knockouts.
"We traveled all over the place watching him boxing," said Walker. "Only for him to knock his opponent out in thirty seconds... He just had that trigger in him. He had that drive to be a good boxer."
Daryl Brown was Kelly's first coach and mentor. He took him under his wing as a teenager.
"In spite of the boxing — outside of boxing — I loved him," he said. "Outside of it... if he were to stop right now and say I don't want to do this anymore, he still would have been my guy."
Luther F. Smith Jr., a retired pro fighter, took to social media to express his sadness, and told WUSA9 about Kelly's impact on the boxing scene.
"What I can tell you is that he was a family man just making it the best way he could," he said. "And he damn sure didn't deserve to be cut short from life like this."
His grandmother, said Kelly was more than just a boxer. He was a father and a mentor who always put the family first.
"The children loved him because he was playful," she said. "We loved him because he was always there for all of us."
Overwhelmed by grief, Kelly's younger cousin had a message for the person who shot him.
"You really took a big piece of my heart I thought I never had," he said. "I swear you crushed me."
Prince George's County Police are offering $25,000 to anyone who has information that leads to an arrest and an indictment. Anyone with information is asked to call detectives at 301-516-2512.