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A family, community mourn the loss of a young life in Lexington

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Posted at 6:15 PM, Feb 07, 2022

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — As a community remembers young Landon Hayes, his family and community leaders are working to prevent other families from dealing with the same pain down the road.

Ten-year-old Hayes died Sunday after being shot in what police are calling a murder-suicide.

"What a tremendously nice kid?” says Landon’s grandfather Alvin Brown. “He had extraordinary charisma, he was extremely flamboyant, he wasn't shy and didn't meet any stranger."

Reports name 22-year-old Tyrus Lathem as the man who shot Landon. His family says Lathem dated Landon’s mother.

"Justice, in this case, doesn't come in the form of justice out of a courtroom. The only thing that we are doing right now is dealing with the grieving,” says Brown.

Now Landon’s family says this community has been left with a huge hole. 13 assaults with firearms cases have been reported so far this year, not including homicides. And now, this city's leaders say gun violence prevention starts before anyone ever picks up a gun.

"It starts way before the gun. Are we ministering to these young people's hearts?” asks Devine Carama, director of ONE Lexington. “Are we taking mental health into account? Are we providing wrap-around services for these most vulnerable in our population? So, to me, that's where violence reduction starts, when we're talking long-term."

The city says it will continue mentoring youth and young adults and recruiting the community to help prevent violent acts like this one. Family and friends gathered at this family home to remember this young life. His grandfather recalls one last story of his grandson.

Brown says, "I said 'If God asked you how long you want to live, what would you tell him?' He said, 'pop's I don't know.' I said 'Just tell me what would you tell him?' He said, 'I probably would want to live to be 70 or 80.' I said 'What if God said you could live forever?' He said, 'Pop's I wouldn’t want to live forever, because I wouldn't be with you and my family.' and that was the most unselfish thing I ever heard in my life."

Landon's family says they hope the community can find ways to reduce gun violence in the city -- and that Landon’s memory will live on.