LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A young teenager is sharing how Tyler Gerth changed his life and left a lasting impression before his untimely death on Saturday at the hands of a gunman in Jefferson Square Park. Gerth, 27, was shot and killed while documenting protests being held for Breonna Taylor.
- Man shot, killed in Jefferson Square Park identified
- Louisville man arrested for fatal shooting in Jefferson Square Park
- Victim of Jefferson Square Park shooting honored with vigil
- Tyler Gerth: Photographer remembered for documenting, supporting protest movement
- Tyler Gerth’s sisters remember their brother as ‘a glue to our family’
- Family of Jefferson Square murder suspect says his mental illness crushed two families
Gerth was part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters program and started mentoring a 13-year-old named Timothy Cherry last August.
“Anytime when an outsider can come in and love your child as much as you love your child, I really appreciated him,” Cherry’s mother, Rhonda Nobles, said.
Nobles signed her son up to be a ‘little brother’ when she noticed his grades slipping.
“If they never paired me up with Tyler, I don’t know, I probably would have still been acting how I usually act, don’t take things seriously,” Cherry said.
After spending less than a year with his new big brother, Cherry is getting ready to enter Fern Creek High School with a 4.0 GPA.
“I loved the way he cared for my son,” Nobles said. “He will be missed.”
They honored Gerth at Cardinal Stadium Tuesday, a spot that holds a wonderful memory. It was the day Gerth and Cherry saw the Cards take on Western Kentucky.
Cherry explained to WAVE 3 News he wasn’t sure he wanted to publicly talk about his big brother but decided he should in his honor.
“I was sad about it but I knew Tyler wouldn’t want me to be sad,” the teen said.
Cherry explained how he felt an instant connection with Gerth the day they met nearly a year ago.
“We sat down at the table and I was like, ‘Yeah, I’m going to get along with Tyler. He’s very cool,‘” Timothy said. “I never had an older brother to look up to. Tyler was a great mentor to me.”
The pair bonded over sports. Cherry helped Gerth improve his 3-pointer, while Gerth helped him with his 3-point stance. They liked to keep it interesting with a little competition.
“He was like my actual brother. We talked about everything. We didn’t have secrets,” Cherry said.
Between jokes, he says Gerth taught him to focus on school and himself because that’s the only thing in his control.
“You don’t always have to be scared to do what you want to do, just do it,” Cherry said.
Those lessons weren’t empty words for the 13-year-old. He said Gerth lived by them and died fighting for what he believed in.
“I think he would just want everyone to come together and be one,” he said.
Gerth’s family is working to create a non-profit organization in his honor and donate to causes he cared about. A GoFundMe has been set up to help them get started.