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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – “It’s like a nightmare. How could someone do this?”

Victoria Thompson has seen too much tragedy. Her son, Tyrell Thompson, a successful downtown artist, was on a date with a woman on June 9 of last year. They were walking in the 4500 block of Olive in the Central West End looking for a nightclub when a dark-colored sedan car pulled.

Three men in their late teens or early 20s robbed them at gunpoint.

“The girl he was with, they put a gun to her head and my son tried to protect her and—these animals—they shot him,” Thompson said.

Tyrell was rushed to the hospital. Thompson remembers getting the call.

“On my way to the hospital, I started praying,” she said. “And I started praying and saying, ‘God, wrap your arms around my child.’ And then when I get there they put me in a wheelchair and I just kept saying ‘No!'”

Tyrell was dead at 28. His father, Tyronne, was once the chief of police in Pagedale. Tyronne also was killed in the same fashion, murdered during a robbery nearly seven years ago to the day. Lieutenant John Green, whose department is investigating Tyrell’s murder, knew Tyronne and can’t believe the cruel irony.

“When you know somebody; I sat in class with his dad at Webster University. It hits home. It hits home. And I think about him all the time,” Lt. Green said.

Thompson wants to see Lt. Green put her son’s killers behind bars.

“I’m praying for justice. My son did not deserve this,” she said.

And she wants her son’s death to be a reminder: we must stop killing each other

“You know, the violence has to stop. It’s just constant. That was my child that I gave birth to and how dare someone take his life,” Thompson said.