Athlete Tyson Gay has called for an end to gun violence after his daughter died in a shootout. The three-time Olympian said “senseless” violence had to stop, according to ABC News. He was speaking for the first time in public since 15-year-old Trinity Gay was killed.
Trinity died in the early hours of Sunday after people in two cars exchanged gunfire at a restaurant parking lot in Lexington, Kentucky. She was not in either of the cars, according to police. Gay was hit in the neck and died shortly afterward at University of Kentucky Medical Center, according to People.
Thousands of people attended a vigil for Trinity at Lexington High School, which both Tyson Gay and his daughter attended. Tyson, who competed in the last three Olympic Games, urged the community to “stop the nonsense and violence.”
“As parents we do our best to raise our child the best we can. And sometimes things just happen; it’s out of our control. We only can look up and ask God why.”
“Sometimes, we don’t get that answer. I just want people to be safe and understand that we all have a life, and we all have dreams and when your fellow peer has a dream, it’s our job as brothers and sisters to come together and protect each other.”
Tyson, who was reportedly very close with his daughter, said caring for each other is what Trinity would have wanted. He also said he did not “want to read in the paper next week about another senseless killing.”
Alexa Garner told the Lexington Herald-Leader that Trinity Gay wanted to step out of her father’s shadow and build her own track career independent of his accomplishments.
“She wanted to have her own goals, she wanted to have her own dreams, she wanted to achieve something without being compared to her dad. She wanted to make her own stage, her own reputation and wanted to leave behind something as good or better than her dad did here.”
Garner was with Gay and another friend, Morgan Gaines, when the shooting occurred. Garner and Gaines were in the front seat of Gaines’ car while Gay was outside. The trio was listening to music and talking before they heard gunfire ring out, according to Gaines.
“My first instinct was to roll up the windows, lock the doors, duck down. It didn’t sound like bullets were passing my car. Somehow, the doors got unlocked and Trinity hops in behind me and she’s screaming, ‘I’ve been shot, I’ve been shot. Take me to the hospital.'”
Three men have been arrested and charged in connection with the teen’s death.
Dvonta Middlebrooks, 21, fired multiple shots, according to police. He was charged with wanton endangerment and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Chazerae Taylor, 38, and son, D’markeo Taylor, 19, admitted to firing shots, according to court documents cited by the Associated Press. They were both charged with wanton endangerment.
All three men have pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The memorial started with the release of dozens of pink and purple balloons, while attendees wore the same colors — Trinity Gay’s favorites — and prayed. Pairs of track spikes hung from a fence at the track, while community members placed photos of Trinity in her honor.
Gay was following in her father’s footsteps as she was a member of the same high school track team as him. This May, she finished fourth in the 100 meters and fifth in the 200 meters at a state Class 3A high school meet, according to the Associated Press. The young athlete also placed fourth as part of the 4×200 relay team. Tyson Gay still holds the Kentucky state 100 meters record he set in 2001.
[Featured Image by Timothy D. Easley/AP Images]