Mourners gather for vigil honoring 14-year-old East St. Louis star athlete shot dead at party

EAST ST. LOUIS - A grieving East St. Louis family continued to ask for justice Wednesday. Their 14-year-old son who was an aspiring football player was shot dead at a party earlier this month.

Jaylon McKenzie’s teammates, friends, family and everyone else in between, gathered for a vigil paying tribute to No. 6 at the East St. Louis Clyde C. Jordan Stadium.

“He was so good he could always play up with the big boys,” said McKenzie’s teammate, Tyler Macon who also referred to McKenzie, as his ‘little brother.’

The star athlete had dreams of going to the NFL but those dreams died May 4th in Venice, Illinois.

State police said that he and a 15-year-old girl were shot at an after-prom party. McKenzie died at the hospital.

The investigation continues.

With no answers and no justice yet, people closest to McKenzie remain numb by the tragic reality.

“He was a down to earth guy,” Macon continued, “this never should’ve happened to him. He had so much talent, he was for sure going to make it. He had his meal ticket out of East St. Louis.”

McKenzie’s father, Otis Gunner spoke with a crowd of mourners telling them that the on-going violence has to end.

“I’m mad and I’m angry,” said Gunner, “but I don’t want anyone else to feel like I feel. So we gotta put these guns down, we gotta do the right thing and we gotta move forward.”

The sorority sisters of Mrs. Gunner have launched a GoFundMe campaign in hopes of providing some comfort to the grieving family and help them with additional expenses.

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