December 18, 2023 | By: Veront Satchell
This story is part of a collaborative project between Project: Cold Case and the University of North Florida’s Applied Journalism class.
In the last song Dari’one Flanigan recorded, he talked about what he wanted for his future.
“I have big dreams,” he sang. “I want to rap and sing.” His dreams were cut short on a June evening in 2019, when the young rapper was at a BP gas station on North Main Street in Jacksonville.
Shots were fired and Dari’one was killed.
Those shots stilled the voice of a young man who had been making music since he was 8 or 9 years old, his mother, Vonette Nixon, said. Dari’one spent most of his time in the studio and hanging out with his family and friends. Dari’one had two older brothers, one younger sister and three bonus sisters. Vonette stated, “I still listen to his music daily and watch videos of him singing in church”. “Dari’one was on his way,” she said. “He had unique music, and it was good music, and he had a lot of people looking at him.” He was inspired by his brother, CMF Scoop, a local Jacksonville rapper.
A special memory Vonette has of her son is that he loved to do side jobs to make money. “Dari’one would go to the Jacksonville Jaguars games with his Papa and sell waters and use to sell honey drippers to the neighborhood kids and sell candy at school. He was the true definition of a hard worker”. “Flanigan was a smart young man, he loved getting dressed up and getting crazy hairstyles Nixon said.” Dari’one was an ambitious student who was planning on attending Florida State College at Jacksonville, having recently graduated from Lee High School. Nixon didn’t get to see him achieve that goal, or his dream of making it big as a musician. He was destined for greatness, but that was taken away from him, she says.
Although he’s been gone for four years, Nixon keeps her connection to her “baby Dari,” alive even as she struggles to come to grips with his death. Vonette and her family continue to advocate for him passing out flyers, conducting walks and raising money for a reward.
She celebrates his birthday by visiting his gravesite and bringing flowers. Some days, she just stops by to say hello. Vonette’s advocacy goes beyond her son’s case. Every year, the Saturday before Easter she runs an Easter event called Troublecho Day. It’s a free event giving out Easter baskets, free food, face painting, pony rides, game trucks and other events.
Dari’one had big dreams and his family has big dreams that they will get justice.
Anyone with information on the murder of Dari’one’s Flanigan is asked to call the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office at 904-630-0500. To remain anonymous and possibly be eligible for a reward, contact First Coast Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-8477 (TIPS).
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