One year after teen dies in crash, family gathers to remember the teen gun violence advocate

Ki'Anthony Tyus was killed in a crash on Dec. 22, 2018.
Published: Dec. 23, 2019 at 12:52 AM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - It’s been one year since Ki’Anthony Tyus, 13, was killed in a car crash. His family gathered at his grave Sunday to remember the young boy and the legacy he left behind.

Using his own experience to inspire hope in others, Ki’Anthony became one of the youngest advocates against violence in Louisville at just 9-years-old.

After he had been shot playing basketball in 2015, Ki'Anthony wanted to use his story of survival to spark change.

"He was an amazing young advocate that we've never seen the presence of since, I haven't and I have been in this advocacy work, publicly, 18 years now," Christopher 2X said. "I've never seen nothing like him."

2X, an anti- violence advocate, worked closely with Ki'Anthony, visiting lawmakers and other survivors of violence. He says Ki'Anthony was a remarkable presence of strength.

"Him going to their hospital bedside to let them know, 'if I can make it, you can make it'," 2X said. "It speaks volumes about his little heart."

Left with a metal rod and the stranger's bullet still in his leg, 2X says Ki'Anthony never gave up his mission to bring awareness to our city's biggest problem.

"With all of his struggles, living in a neighborhood, that Market Street corridor in West Louisville, that was engulfed with gun fire on a daily basis, he didn't do an about face on the advocacy, he got more entrenched and wanted to do more and more," 2X said.

Although he accomplished a lot, his work was cut short at the age of 13.

Ki'Anthony was a passenger in a stolen car December 22, 2018. His family says he probably did not know it was stolen, he was just getting a ride to the store.

The driver, 17 year-old Reco Smith, was accused of speeding away from officers on I-65 who tried to stop the stolen SUV.

Police say Smith eventually crashed the SUV on Fern Valley Road.

Smith is now charged with murder and a lawsuit has been filed by the Tyus family against LMPD.

Although a year has passed, it hasn't been any easier on Ki'Anthony's family, especially his grandmother.

"He was somebody and he meant the world to this family and we just miss him so much every day," Ernestine Tyus said. "We look for his little face to come through that door to be talking about some kind of sports with me."

His grandmother says although it is tough, she will continue to put his name out there, so what he meant will never be forgotten despite the questions that surround his death.

"It just hurts at Christmas time and I think about all the people who lost their babies because its not fair to all of us mothers and grandmothers who got to bury these children," Ernestine said.

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