Family of Dawson Springs teen killed works to keep his legacy alive as investigation continues

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DAWSON SPRINGS, Ky. (WEHT) – The family of a Dawson Springs teenager killed this week reacts to charges filed against a man allegedly involved in his death.

Michael Roche, 19, is charged with complicity to murder for the shooting death of 16-year-old Dakota Carter.

Kentucky State Police say Roche was involved in Carter’s death at his home on Hosick Avenue. It’s a death still being felt within Carter’s family and throughout Dawson Springs.

“This can’t be tolerated. This was a senseless murder. It should have never happened,” said Angela Carter, Dakota’s mother. She described her son as having a love for life.

“He woke up every morning with a smile on his face. He was in love with life. He couldn’t wait to face every day and new challenges that it met,” she described.

Kentucky State Police say Carter died after he was shot in his home just after 1:00 AM Tuesday. No official motive’s been released, but the Carters say it may stem from a personal dispute. Angela says her son was shot after answering the door when someone knocked.

“As I came out, I said, ‘Dakota! Oh my God! Is he breathing? Is he breathing?’ That’s all my concern was. His dad kneeled on the ground, his dad held him,” she recalled.

“Everybody is so just shocked, some people still don’t believe it,” added Daniel Carter, Dakota’s brother.

As detectives keep investigating, the Carters keep working on keeping the memory of their son alive. They donated some of his organs, including his heart, and Daniel says he and his fiancee will name their newborn son after Dakota.

“We were giving the option of giving Dakota’s name when he was still here. Well, we changed it and Dakota said to me, ‘By the end of the pregnancy, you’re going to name your son Dakota,” says Daniel. “My fiancee reminded me of that when I was giving my brother last hugs and I said, ‘Yeah, we’re going to name him after Dakota.”

The Carters say they plan to hold a vigil in Dawson Springs this upcoming weekend.

(This story was originally published on June 3, 2021)

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