Jarve McDaniels, who worked in construction and landscaping, was on his way to a barbecue in Seattle’s Leschi neighborhood on April 10 when he and two friends stopped to smoke cigarettes, leaning up against a short, concrete wall outside a home on the northwest corner of 29th Avenue and Alder Street.

From what his family has pieced together, a white Lexus drove by McDaniels and the two women he was with, then circled back. Three or four shooters got out of the car and unleashed a barrage of bullets from the east, then ran north on 29th Avenue.

The women suffered non-life-threatening gunshot wounds to their legs, said McDaniels’ father, Herbert McDaniels, a former Army combat medic. But his son, who stood 6-foot-5-inches, caught most of the bullets and was struck twice in the head, twice in the stomach and once in the shoulder.

McDaniels died from his injuries at a Tacoma rehabilitation center on Oct. 25.

Jarve McDaniels, was shot last April. He later died in October of his injuries.    (family handout)
Jarve McDaniels, was shot last April. He later died in October of his injuries. (family handout)

Today, Nov. 13, would have been McDaniels’ 29th birthday.

“It was tragic, just tragic for the family. He was the last person we thought anybody would ever do harm to because he never did anything — he was not involved in gangs or police activity, none of that,” Herbert McDaniels said in an interview Thursday at Powell Barnett Park, located just west of where his son was gunned down.

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Accompanied by his brother Joseph McDaniels, Herbert McDaniels, 52, also visited the scene of the shooting, where a sidewalk memorial honors his son. He leaned up against the concrete wall, where bullet strikes have been painted over but still mar the surface, and demonstrated how his son had been pinned down by gunfire with nowhere to run.

Herbert McDaniels and his son’s mother, Joyce Schachere of Renton, believe their son was randomly targeted, possibly as part of a gang initiation, by a group of armed teenagers or young adults.

“I want them to find the (expletive) who did that to my son and put them in jail,” Herbert McDaniels said.

The shooting was initially investigated by the Seattle Police Department’s gang unit, but after McDaniels died, the case was transferred to the homicide unit, said SPD spokesperson Det. Patrick Michaud. Police have not made any arrests and ask anyone with information to call the tip line, 206-233-5000.

Jarve McDaniels is one of six children on his mother’s side and one of seven on his father’s. He lived with his mom and younger siblings in Renton. Raised in the Catholic church, McDaniels grew up in Seattle’s Lake City and Ballard neighborhoods and enjoyed attending church events and family gatherings, his mother said in a phone interview. As a younger man, he volunteered at a number of Boys & Girls Clubs in the city, played basketball, football and ran track, and loved to fish the Ballard Locks and the Cedar River.

Jarve McDaniels, left, is pictured with his older brother Ronnie Schachere, center, and their cousin Dain Jaecksch, at their grandmother’s house in Ravenna in 2015. McDaniels was shot April 10 in Seattle’s Leschi neighborhood and died from his injuries on Oct. 25. Seattle police have not made any arrests in McDaniels’ homicide.  (Photo courtesy of Joyce Schacher )
Jarve McDaniels, left, is pictured with his older brother Ronnie Schachere, center, and their cousin Dain Jaecksch, at their grandmother’s house in Ravenna in 2015. McDaniels was shot April 10 in Seattle’s Leschi neighborhood and died from his injuries on Oct. 25. Seattle police have not made any arrests in McDaniels’ homicide. (Photo courtesy of Joyce Schacher )
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McDaniels played guitar and the drums and loved all kinds of music, from rock and rap to country and gospel, Schachere said. He mowed the lawn every other week and cooked mountains of food for his family and friends, she said.

“His room is the cleanest one in the house. He didn’t like looking at clutter,” Schachere said.

The morning of the shooting, Jarve McDaniels had breakfast with his family, took their mini poodle Charlie for a walk, then tossed a football around in the backyard with his younger brothers, ages 14 and 16, their mother said.

He left around 11 a.m. to catch a bus, and friends saw him later in the day in the Rainier Valley. While Schachere didn’t know of her son’s plans to attend the barbecue, she said McDaniels often visited his grandmother and 11-year-old cousin, who live near Powell Barnett Park.

Schachere, who works as a construction flagger, was volunteering at a friend’s commercial kitchen in Kent when she got the call that her son had been shot and that she needed to get to Harborview Medical Center. She later learned a man with military experience heard the gunshots and yelled, “Man down, man down!” as he rushed to her son’s aid, wrapping his head to slow the bleeding.

“We just really appreciate what he did. I wish there were more people in the world like that,” Schachere said.

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Herbert McDaniels, who has since moved back to Seattle but at the time was working on a farm in Eudora, Arkansas, jumped on a plane to be by his son’s bedside.

“He fought so hard, I could just see it in his eyes,” said Schachere, 52, who recently started a GoFundMe campaign to help cover funeral expenses.

The family had wanted to hold McDaniels’ funeral at a Central District church on his birthday but couldn’t because the pastor contracted the coronavirus, she said. A memorial service is being planned for Nov. 21.

Herbert McDaniels tends to his son’s memorial on East Alder Street. (Greg Gilbert / The Seattle Times)
Herbert McDaniels tends to his son’s memorial on East Alder Street. (Greg Gilbert / The Seattle Times)

“He was so caring, so loving. He was a bright, shining light,” said McDaniels’ cousin, Dain Jaecksh, who owns a roofing business in Vancouver, Clark County. “He was really just a peaceful person. He wasn’t starting fights or gang banging. He was a good, good guy.”

Editor’s note:  A previous version of this story included an incorrect reference to the venue for McDaniels’ funeral.