Family, friends gather at McKee Park to honor fatally shot teen

Monday, July 15, 2013 | 11:06 p.m. CDT; updated 1:54 p.m. CDT, Friday, June 20, 2014
Family, friends and community members marched Monday in honor of Tre'Veon Marshall, who was shot Sunday night in McKee Park and was pronounced dead early Monday morning.

*This story has been updated to reflect the family's preferred spelling of Tre'Veon Marshall.

COLUMBIA — A crowd gathered around Bishop Lorenzo Lawson to pray in McKee Park. Lawson asked the group to join hands and said, “We’re going to make the loudest noise that will ring in heaven, and the devil will know that we’re not going to take it anymore.”

On the count of three, the group yelled to the sky.

More than 50 people marched around McKee Park on Monday evening, chanting, “Stop the violence! Stop it now!” They gathered in remembrance of Tre'Veon Marshall*, 17, who was fatally shot at the park Sunday night.

"We’re going to walk around here seven times and say, ‘Stop the violence,’ and on the seventh time, we’re going to shout," Lawson said.

Lawson is the founder and director of Youth Empowerment Zone, an organization that provides resources to at-risk youths.

Before the march, Lawson explained how the Israelites walked seven times around the Wall of Jericho once a day for a week, and on the last day, the Israelites shouted, bringing down the wall and allowing them to defeat their enemy. Now, the enemy is the spirit of violence, Lawson said.

Lawson led the group in a prayer to stop violence in their neighborhood.

“I’m tired of all my young black men and young black girls leaving this (earthly) plane," Lawson said. "It’s senseless.” 

Tre'Veon Marshall was taken to the hospital Sunday night and pronounced dead at 12:31 a.m. Monday, according to a news release from the Columbia Police Department. As of Monday night, police had released no suspect information in relation to Marshall's death, and the investigation was still ongoing.

Dre’shawn Marshall said he was talking with his younger brother on the phone when he was shot and was the first person to find his body.

“All I heard was my brother scream, and that’s all I focused on,” he said.

After finding his brother, Dre’shawn Marshall punched a mailbox and the ground in anger, leaving his knuckles raw.

“They took a hell of a guy,” Marshall's aunt, René Marshall, said.

Tre'Veon Marshall’s aunt, Yolanda Marshall, said that her favorite thing about Marshall was how goofy he was.

“He was just goofy. His nickname was 'Goofytrue,' ” she said.

His aunts agreed that if he had been there, Tre'Veon Marshall would have been the one to cheer everyone up.

“He was always guaranteed to make someone smile,” Yolanda Marshall said.

“He would be cracking jokes, trying to get everyone to laugh,” said Tre'Veon Marshall's girlfriend, Erin Monroe. Monroe, 18, said she had been dating Marshall for four years.

“I’ve known him since middle school," she said. "I’m speechless.”

Marshall was a student at Hickman High School until January, said Michelle Baumstark, a spokeswoman for Columbia Public Schools.

René Marshall said Tre'Veon Marshall was widely loved, and that his former principal, vice principal and football coach had all called his mother since the shooting.

When asked whether or not Tre'Veon Marshall was good at football, René Marshall laughed and said, “Eh, he was alright.”

Marshall was always dancing and joking, she said, and telling his aunts and his mother that they were beautiful.

“ 'You’re the queen of my life,' he used to say,” René Marshall said.

Marshall's birthday is July 31, and his family intends to celebrate this one without him.

“He loved Polo,” René Marshall said. “His mother was going to make him a Polo birthday cake. Everyone was going to wear Polo shirts for his 18th birthday. That’s still going to happen, but he’s not going to be here."

“He didn’t deserve this,” she said. “I know everyone says that, but he really didn’t. He didn’t deserve this. I know I’m his aunt, but I have nothing bad to say about him.”

René Marshall said Tre'Veon Marshall wasn’t involved in the street life. “His friends dealt with it, and he got a taste of it, but he turned himself around,” she said.

The morning of the shooting, René Marshall said he left the house and told his mother he was going to look for a job.

“When I saw them carrying him out, and he was dying, it bothered me. But he looked peaceful. I was OK, because he looked like he was at ease,” René Marshall said.

The Rev. James Gray of the Second Missionary Baptist Church took a role in comforting the family and helping lead the march. Gray said he was distressed with the violence in town.

“We want to make some noise,” he said. “Last week, (a shooting) was at Providence. Before that was downtown. It’s sad when we can’t go anywhere.”

Gray didn’t think a curfew would have an effect and said that it was the parents’ responsibility to watch their kids.

“None of us are promised tomorrow,” Gray said.

Gray said he was going to start a neighborhood association so people could come together to solve problems in the community.

“Each and every one of y’all are mine,” Gray said. “It’s not about black and white. It’s about our kids.”

A candlelight vigil is planned to be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday at McKee Park. Participants have been asked to wear white shirts and bring white candles. Tre'Veon Marshall’s mother will be wearing red and holding a red candle.

Supervising editor is Zachary Matson.

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