CLAYTON, MO - Tillman’s family members gathered where he died in an officer-involved shooting to remember him during a vigil.
There were candles left behind from the vigil where dozens of Tillman’s family and friends gathered to play his music and reminisce. They also questioned exactly what lead up to the deadly encounter.
Family members showed a mixture of emotions at the vigil from love and laughter to moments of anger and frustration.
“Terry was funny. He was a standup guy. He was like the life of the party,” said Devin Hopper, a close friend of Tillmen.
One of Tillman’s sisters, Racheal Jones, expressed the pain his family is experiencing. She revealed that he was expecting a child with his girlfriend.
“He didn’t find out the sex of his baby. He didn’t get to go to the doctor to hear her heartbeat,” Jones said. “Tell me how you would feel when you have a 9-year-old crying ever since you told her.”
Authorities said Tillman was in the Galleria with a gun when a Richmond Heights officer approached him.
He allegedly took that officer on a chase that ended in the Simmons Bank on Clayton Road. The officer shot him, and he died at the scene.
Family members said they feel Tillman was running from the officer out of fear and questioned if he ever had the chance to surrender.
“Do they give us a chance? Did they give him a chance in the end?” Jones asked.
“You want to know why he ran? Ask all of these young black men,” Jones said.
Police reported they did find a gun on the scene while investigating. Jones addressed the fact that Tillman had been in trouble with the law in the past.
“It was a mistake. Everybody makes mistakes, but that wasn’t a mistake. We’re the ones out here crying while he’s at home sleeping,” Jones said.
She added that the officer didn’t know Tillman’s background when the encounter happened.
The people lighting candles at the vigil painted the picture of a loving person who carried a gun out of protection.
“He had been on him for protection,” Hopper said. “He was not out to hurt anyone he’s a good guy. I’ve known him since I was 11-years-old. I’ve never had problems we’ve never fought. None of that,” Hopper asked.
At moments, the crowd danced and chanted Tillman’s name. They shared what they would cherish most about him.
“That smile! He made everybody laugh,” Jones said.
Saint Louis County Police are continuing to investigate.
They said the scene was crowded and asked all witnesses to reach out to them.
Authorities said they would like to interview anyone who saw the incident unfold.
During the candlelight vigil, family members said during a prayer, “Protect our city. We need healing.”