Mom speaks out after son killed, 2 others injured in Louisville bus stop shooting

"That bus stop was a target for whatever reason," said the victim's aunt.

Police in Louisville, Kentucky are looking for a Jeep with Illinois plates after a teen was killed and two others wounded during a drive-by shooting at a bus stop.

The incident occurred at Chestnut and Dr. W.J. Hodge streets around 6:20 a.m. on Wednesday and the victims are high school students in the area, The Courier-Journal reports.

Family members of the teenager who died, Tyree Smith, 16, are speaking out and making clear that he was a good kid who was not involved with gangs and was not targeted. Smith was a student at Louisville’s Eastern High School and was shot minutes after leaving home to catch the school bus. He died at the University of Louisville Hospital.

Sherita Smith Louisville Kentucky
Sherita Smith, the mother of the victim (Credit: WHAS11 YouTube screenshot)

An unidentified 13-year-old boy also suffered non-life-threatening injuries and a 14-year-old girl is expected to be OK after suffering a “graze wound” to the ankle, LMPD said, Wave 3 reports. There were other students at the bus stop at the time of the drive-by shooting, but they were not injured.

“I’m lost for words … What am I supposed to do when I led my son down the right path, and he gets killed by senseless violence?” Tyree’s mother, Sherita Smith, told the crowd at a Wednesday night vigil.

“That bus stop was a target for whatever reason,” said Tyree’s aunt, Sharonda Smith. “But all I know is my nephew, he went to school, he went to work, he was in 11th grade. He’s never had a problem. He don’t get calls home from the teachers regarding his behavior or anything.”

Sharonda believes the location was the target, as the bus stop had reportedly been shot up on multiple occasions this school year.

“Once they’re on the bus stop to go to school, the school is responsible,” said great aunt Charlotte of Tyree and his two siblings. “And when they go to school and tell them the bus stop has been shot up, and then nothing happened, now look what you lost.”

Renee Murphy, a spokesperson for Jefferson County Public Schools, responded to the family’s comments in a statement on Wednesday, saying “We have been informed of one report of shots fired in the area near the bus stop, but not at the bus stop.”

Tay Lawson, a student at Crosby Middle School, said his mother was on the scene and offered aid to the victims immediately after the shooting. 

“He took his hand off and (blood) started coming through his chest again,” said Lawson, “so Mom told him to put this towel on him until the paramedic comes.”

Metro Councilman Anthony Piagentini spoke to reporters at the scene of the shooting, noting that “This is about as bad as it gets for it to be children,” he said. 

“Waiting at a bus stop, heading to school is about the lowest that this city can get,” Piagentini continued.

Piagentini said the need for federal help is urgent amid the city’s gun violence crisis.

“I’ve already called on the mayor, and I’m calling on him now,” he said. “We need to call in any resources we can — FBI, federal agents, state police, National Guard.”

Police have not made any arrests in the drive-by shooting but have turned to the public for help locating a Jeep Cherokee believed to be connected to the shooting. The vehicle has an Illinois license plate number of BD91644.

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