Children of I-80 standoff suspect speak out

- A Bay Area man and his sister are speaking out about their father, Demilo Hodge, days after Hodge was shot and killed by police on Interstate 80 following a chase and standoff.

J.T. Hodge, 21, said his sister Jessica, 24, spoke with KTVU Friday from a home in Vallejo. The siblings said their father was loving, respectful, and always focused on family.

On Wednesday, Hodge, 45, reached out to his wife and children by phone after he was cornered by police on I-80 in Emeryville, according to his children. Police said Hodge was wanted on suspicion of murder for the 2015 shooting of a 68-year-old man at a home in Fairfield.

J.T. did not understand what was happening when he heard his dad on the line and the voice of a police seargent in the background.

"I hear him talking to us, saying how much he loves us and saying, 'I'm trying to do the right thing'," Hodge recalled. "There was just a lot of noise and commotion and towards the end you just hear a whole bunch of noises. Then I look on the news and I just see my father lying there on the ground. I didn't know what happened. I didn't know if he got out and laid down. I didn't know what happened. After that it was just dead silence."

The family has a lot of questions about what happened that day, but are certain that the man people saw during the standoff was not the man they knew.

"He was a really good guy and he cared for everyone he came in contact with." J.T. said.

The siblings describe their father as intelligent, hard-working, and a family man. Hodge was a father of four, a husband, brother, and son.

Jessica Hodge called her father a phenomenal man who always strived to succeed in life. She said he passed that desire for excellence to his children.

"He cared for each and every one of us and pushed us with our education to finish," Jessica said. "He was always there for us."

"When we went to field trips he was that dad that came on the field trip and made everybody laugh," J.T. added. "He brought snacks. He was that dad that everyone loved."

After Hodge was released from prison in 2004, he turned his life around. Hodge became an entrepreneur and owner of his own limo business in Napa, Executive Excursion Limousine Service. The family said Hodge would make complimentary videos for his clients to remember their trip.

"All he did was focus on his business and focus on his family," J.T. said. "He didn't focus on running around in the streets. That wasn't his deal."

Hodge's children are now focused on putting their father to rest in peace.

"My father is gone. I want people to know the comments, and the false allegations and all these things people are portraying about his image, that's not how we want to remember my father," J.T. said.

The family is searching for answers, not only about what led up to the standoff, but the response from officers who fired more than 30 shots at Hodge. They said they have not been in contact with any investigators.

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