Police in Louisville, Kentucky are searching for suspects in connection with a drive-by shooting on Wednesday morning (September 22) that wounded two 14-year-olds and killed 16-year-old Tyree Smith, all of whom were waiting at a bus stop to get to school.
"My son walked out the door at 6:15. He called me at 6:18 and said, 'Mama, I got shot," Tyree's mother, Sherita Smith shared during a vigil in her son's honor on Wednesday evening (September 22), ABC 7 Chicago reported.
Tyree was waiting for the bus to Eastern High School with a group of other students when occupants of a vehicle opened fire on them, killing Tyree and wounding two others. Tyree was a junior in high school.
"My child is 16 years old. He got great grades, he got a strong family background ... So what am I supposed to do when I guide my son down the right path and he gets killed and hurt by senseless violence?" Sherita Smith said during the vigil. Tyree's killing is Louisville's 145 criminal homicide this year, according to Mayor Greg Fischer.
City councilman Anthony Piagentini told reporters the teen's killing is "as bad as it gets."
"Waiting at a bus stop, heading to school is about the lowest that this city can get," he said.
A car matching the description of the vehicle believed to be used in the deadly drive-by was found in St. Matthews, Kentucky –– located about nine miles east of Louisville. Authorities there found a gray Jeep on fire outside of an apartment complex and after putting out the blaze, ran the plates to discover the car was reported stolen.
The car was turned over to Louisville Metro Police Department –– who confirmed the vehicle had been recovered on Thursday (September 23) –– for further investigation.
Local activist Kamal Wells called on the community to protect children at the bus stops by stationing a group of 50 men every morning and evening when students are being transported to and from school.
"The mothers have stepped up, they take the kids to school and everything in this community. That's all I'm asking for, is 50 men to step up and be at the bus stops to protect the kids, because the kids shouldn't be harmed," Wells said.
Reading about Black trauma can have an impact on your mental health. If you or someone you know need immediate mental health help, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor. These additional resources are also available:
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
The National Alliance on Mental Illness 1-800-950-6264
The Association of Black Psychologists 1-301-449-3082
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America 1-240-485-1001
For more mental health resources, click HERE.