LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A teen boxing champion is dead after being struck in a triple shooting in February; it happened after a Shawnee High School basketball game.
Malik Parker was 17.
His father, Joseph Parker, told WAVE 3 News his son spent most of his life in Louisville before moving to New York to be closer to family.
On Feb. 23, Malik Parker flew to Louisville to visit friends at his old high school. His father said he asked to go to a Shawnee High School basketball game with two of his friends, whom his father said he trusted.
Joseph Parker said he now regrets saying ‘Yes.’
The 17-year-old was shot, as were his two friends, leaving the game. He remained in critical condition for weeks before finishing his final fight on March 19.
His mother, Zenita Williams, said she feels like she is living through a nightmare.
“I feel violated,” Williams cried. “I feel like someone stole from me.”
Malik Parker was his father’s right hand man and followed in his footsteps as a boxer. Joseph Parker said he started training his son at a young age.
“I started him off [at] maybe six years old, once we started going to the gyms at five in the morning, training,” he said.
Malik Parker had dreams of being one of the greats; his dad said his favorite boxer was Muhammad Ali.
“He traveled all over the country, and every time he traveled, he represented TKO Boxing and Louisville, Kentucky,” Joseph Parker explained. “That was his dream, to one day be a world champion and represent Louisville, Kentucky as his hero, Muhammad Ali, did before him.”
Before moving to New York to finish off his senior year of school, Malik Parker was a boxer at TKO Louisville. His coach, James Dixon, said he was quiet and focused.
“This one has hurt me,” Dixon said. “TKO teaches ‘You ‘gotta be champions in and out of the ring.’ Malik Parker was a champion in and out of the ring.”
Joseph Parker wants to see the parents of young shooting suspects arrested and charged. Parker plans on reaching out to legislators to fight for the cause, and he wants it to be called Malik’s Law.
“Stop the killing in Louisville, and that’s how you’ll stop it,” Parker said, “cause these young kids are going home with these guns to these homes with their parents who don’t care. We ‘gotta make them care. You ‘gotta make them care. Make them responsible — lock them up.”
Malik Parker had hopes of graduating from high school this summer in New York and continuing his boxing career. His family said he will be buried there.
To help the family with expenses, donations can be made here.