As daughter nears death, father urges awarness of domestic violence

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By Joe Gorman


Dana Wallace was hovering over his daughter as her life support was taken away Tuesday at St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital, yet he said he did not want her impending death to be in vain.

His daughter, Danekua Bankston, 28, was shot several times, including in the head, early Friday in her Oregon Avenue apartment on the West Side.

Police say an ex-boyfriend, Kyle Rice, 29, shot her, and he was arrested later that day on a charge of attempted murder.

“This is her last day,” Wallace said as he described injuries from gunshot wounds to his daughter’s arm, spleen, stomach and head. “They’re just letting it run its course because she’s brain dead.”

Speaking to a Vindicator reporter on the phone from Bankston’s hospital room, Wallace said he thought it was so important people know about the dangers of domestic violence that he had to get the message out even as his daughter lay dying.

“For anybody, if they see red flags, get out,” Wallace said. “Try to get out and tell somebody.”

Wallace said his daughter, who had three children with Rice, was often tormented by him, and he often threatened to kill her.

She was worried she would meet the same fate as her best friend, Tracee Banks, who was shot and killed in 2010 by a jealous ex-boyfriend. Banks’ killer was convicted and is serving a lengthy prison sentence.

“She was always telling us he [Rice] had a gun,” Wallace said. “He would always threaten her that he would do her like her friend.”

Rice was arraigned Monday in municipal court and is in the Mahoning County jail on $1 million bond. No criminal record could be found for him in a search of municipal court or county common pleas court records.

Officer Jeff Kay of the police department’s Family Services Investigation Unit, which specializes in domestic and juvenile crime, said the department does offer resources for people in an abusive relationship. He said there are places they can refer people to so they can get help or if they need a place to stay.

Kay said officers also treat threats that are reported as serious as the actual physical act of domestic violence.

He said he often advises victims to file for a protection order. He acknowledged some people deride an order as “just a piece of paper,” but he said someone who violates an order can then be arrested. Sometimes, he said, that gets an offender’s attention.

If someone knows of domestic abuse of a friend or family member, they also can speak to an investigator, Kay said, if the victim is too afraid to seek help. Police can then begin their own investigation, he said.

Because she shared children with Rice, she often allowed him in her apartment to see them, Wallace said.

And yet Wallace said he thought she was scared. He said she was wondering last week if Rice would really kill her. He said she asked, “‘Do you think he’s really going to shoot me? Do you think he’s really going to kill me?’”

“This is her last day,” Wallace repeated before hanging up. “She’s brain dead.”