A Knoxville family was full of shock and disbelief in the hours following a shooting and a manhunt in West Knox County.
“I saw it on the news and thought about sending prayers to the family. I didn’t know the family was me,” said Melvin Luster, Mehki Luster’s uncle.
The sheriff’s office said Mekhi Luster, 18, of Knoxville, was shot and killed around 8 p.m. Monday on Amber Glades Lane, off of Boyd Station Road.
Hours after, his family says they don’t know why he was there and that it was out of character for the teen.
“I don’t know what happened, I haven’t even seen his body,” said Miranda Luster, Mekhi’s mother.
The family says they learned of his death around midnight, and have been in disbelief ever since
“He was amazing, always had a smile on his face, very athletic,” said Miranda Luster.
A candlelight vigil was held in the Lonsdale community Tuesday night where friends and family gathered to pray.
“We just grew on each other a lot. every time we would see each other we would have big smiles on our face, I loved him a lot,” said C’tarra McDowell, a friend of Mekhi.
The community has felt loss like this before. Two years ago, Zaevion Dobson was shot and killed in Lonsdale. He and Mekhi grew up together and have been friends since they were children.
“He was one of my close friends, he and another one of my close friends. Him and Zaevion – he’s more like my brother. He’s a real close friend to me like,” said Louis Mcnair, a friend.
The family says they hope Mekhi’s death is a reminder to other teens and children in the area. His friends say they hope it leads to change.
“Our young people gotta step up. We got to stop letting gun violence take our lives, we got to all be together. Just be cool and love each other,” said friend Chris Hunter.