The Springfield Police Division chief is calling for a suspect in the murder of a 17-year-old Springfield High School student to turn himself in and avoid further violence.
Police have issued an arrest warrant for Tyrin Hawkins, 17, of Springfield, on a murder charge in connection with the fatal shooting of Jeff Wellington on Sunday in the 2400 block of North Limestone Street.
“Anyone that can reason with this young man would ask him to turn himself in to the police division before there’s further violence … We need this to come to a peaceful resolution and at this time we are not sure that is the direction we’re headed,” Police Chief Stephen Moody said.
Moody said there was a “beef” between the suspect and another individual, and Wellington tried to step in. Hawkins, a Keifer Academy student, is accused of firing a shot that hit Wellington in the chest.
“At this point in time, I’m worried about people choosing sides. We don’t need that. Mr. Hawkins needs to have his day in court,” Moody said.
Wellington died later Sunday morning at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton.
Family and friends gathered at Wellington’s house Monday to support each other. Wellington’s mother, Lakisha Cole, said she knows her son isn’t suffering now and is in a better place.
“He is upstairs with his heavenly father,” Cole said.
His older brother, Michael Minter, said the family knows they will never get him back.
“Whoever did this, I want you to know the pain you sent to our family,” he said. “There is no healing this.”
A 13-year-old younger sister, Daykisha Waren, was still too shaken up to talk, Cole said, and was taking the loss of her brother hard.
Torray Lanier, Cole’s sister, said she can sympathise with the family’s pain because she also had to bury a child.
“I feel the love and support I can give to her was reached out to me. I believe the whole family needs that,” Lanier said.
Friends and family described Wellington as an outgoing and charismatic young man. He was a running back for the Springfield High football team and a promising college prospect, according to his family.
His mother said he was planning to attend a Nike combine on Father’s Day to work out in front of college scouts.
“You can’t give him back. His life was stripped at a young age. He had big dreams and that was taken away from him,” Wellington’s grandmother Opan Paris said.
The mood at Springfield High School was somber on Monday, said Kyle Johnson, a clinical psychologist for Springfield City Schools.
He spent Monday talking with grieving students about the loss of their classmate. Students told him they could see how big of an impact Wellington made on the school.
School seemed different Monday from the first step in the door, Junior Class Council President Lindsey McCready said.
“It is usually a very lively attitude and kids just seemed to have something weighing on them,” she said.
McCready is working with school administrators and the family to plan memorials and vigils for Wellington. More than 200 students and community members came out Sunday night for a vigil to honor him.
“People think that … it won’t happen to somebody that you know until it actually happens to somebody that you do know, and the feeling is indescribable,” junior Chris Armitage said at the vigil.