Coach on slain Waggener football player: 'Tyson is a victim of circumstances'

Coach on slain Waggener football player: 'Tyson is a victim of circumstances'

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) -  Waggener High School officials are working to help the students and staff process the death of one of their football players.

19-year-old Tyson Gibbs, who was also called Red, was shot to death behind an apartment building on South 38th Street Saturday night. The Jefferson County Coroner's Office said Gibbs died from multiple gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene on South 38th Street at 8:16 p.m.

"Obviously with the passing of Tyson, the Waggener HS community is heartbroken," Sarah Hitchings, Waggener High School's principal, explained. "This was a young man who had an infectious smile, was full of life, he was really making changes, to place himself in a positive position, and accomplish life goals. This is the worst possible outcome. We'll sorely miss him at Waggener."

Gibbs was a senior last year. Hitchings revealed that he had some struggles after football season and a lot of attendance issues during the second half of the semester. She was expecting him to return to Waggener after the summer break to finish out school.

"Tyson is a victim of circumstances," Coach Jordan Johnson said. "The issues he dealt with growing up, loss of family members, he wouldn't let others know that side of him. He was very soft spoken, large heart, cared about people."

Johnson, Waggener's head football coach, said that this is a learn as you go situation. Johnson stated that he'd known Tyson since 7th grade since his sister Tysha Spearman was murdered in 2012.  Johnson explained that he'd fought to get Gibbs into Waggener hoping that guidance and love would help him get out.

"Tyson brought happiness to people and was just a physical presence everywhere he went," Johnson said. "We're trying to make this the best situation and not let his legacy die with it."

School officials said that Gibbs was a leader who had the trust of his teammates.

"When he said something the kids listened, followed him - not out of fear, but this dude knows what he's talking about. We'll miss that, his leadership and motivate people to do better,"  Johnson said.

The team was passionate about bringing awareness to anti-violence campaigns and racial injustice, Principal Hitchings said.

"I have been super proud to be their principal to see the things they've done," Hitchings explained. "As unfortunate as it is the loss of a teammate, it's also reaffirming and adding fuel to the fire for them. I think the efforts and work, I see it tripling now. They're charged on a very personal mission to make things better in the city they live in."

"Our guys have such character, retaliation is far from their mind; I know people have that thought, those not involved with our program. Justice has nothing to do with retaliation; they'll get what's coming through the court system and the justice system," Coach Johnson said.

A makeshift memorial has been set up in the location where Gibbs died. Gibbs friends gathered there on Monday afternoon.

"Always told me to stay on the right track to not get into the street stuff," Gibbs' friend Titus Cheatham said. "Just told me to stick to football."

Police have not made any arrests in this case. If you have any information call the anonymous tip line at 574-LMPD.

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