The 15-year-old daughter of Olympian Tyson Gay died early Sunday at University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital after a shooting at Cook Out restaurant on South Broadway, according to the Fayette County coroner.
Trinity Gay was shot in the neck about 4 a.m., police said.
Trinity died at 4:41 a.m., according to the coroner. She was taken to another hospital by a private vehicle before being transferred to UK hospital, police said.
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About 12 hours later, Mayor Jim Gray urged on Twitter that “anyone who can provide help to police, please step forward.”
Trinity was a top sprinter for Lafayette High School, where her father Olympic sprinter Tyson Gay, a Lexington native, also attended.
Kentucky High School Athletic Association Commissioner Julian Tackett tweeted that he was “Shocked to hear of death of Trinity Gay. A life of such potential cut so tragically short. Sympathies to Tyson and entire family."
Condolences also were offered to the Gay family by fellow Olympian Ato Boldon, USA Track & Field, and others in the track community.
Tyson Gay told WLEX-18, “She didn’t make it. I’m so confused. She was just here last week for fall break. It’s so crazy. I have no idea what happened.” He said he was flying back to Lexington Sunday.
Her mother, Shoshana Boyd told the New York Daily News, “She was so innocent. She was so innocent. I just want people to stop shooting and realize who they’re hurting. It’s just random. They don’t understand. They don’t understand who they’re hurting.”
Her daughter’s dreams included being a surgeon and achieving Olympic success, Boyd told the Daily News.
Witnesses reported an exchange of gunfire between a gray Dodge Charger and a dark-colored sports car with tinted windows, police said. Police found the Dodge Charger and detained two people for questioning. They are still searching for a second vehicle.
The restaurant is located at 855 South Broadway, not far from the UK campus. The restaurant has extended hours, closing at 5 a.m. Sunday, according to the business’ website.
At around 2 a.m., Trinity Gay made a reference to Cook Out on her Twitter account, and also Tweeted “Of course they start shootin”.
Brenna Angel, a spokeswoman for Lexington police, said the 15-year-old was not in either suspect vehicle, and that the vehicle that took her to hospital is not a suspect vehicle.
Several hours after the shooting, restaurant workers said they were not allowed to comment. Shots were reportedly fired in the restaurant’s parking lot previously since it opened in 2014. No one was injured in one such incident in March 2015.
“Tragedies like this require us to pull together as a caring community and we are doing that,” the mayor said.
Trinity Gay followed in her father’s footsteps on the track. He was a Lafayette standout who went on to three summer Olympics. She ran for Scott County High School as a seventh-grader before she moved to Lafayette in Lexington.
She was a sophomore and member of the track-and-field team. She was among the top sprinters in her class among Kentucky high school students. She ran fourth in last year’s girls’ 100-meter dash state championship.
Trinity was remembered as bubbly and a good student by her Lafayette coach Crystal Washington. Trinity’s teammates had been contacting their coach all morning. The kids will be involved with a memorial or tribute of some sort.
“The kids were really close with her,” Washington said. “We’ve got to do something.”
Her talents on the track were undeniable, but she was still growing.
“Being the rising star that she was, we hadn’t seen her best yet,” said Chris Hawboldt, editor of MileSplit Kentucky and the former head coach at Tates Creek. “She was sweet and obviously a quality athlete, but more importantly she was good for the track-and-field community in Lexington.”
Being the daughter of Tyson Gay produced a lot of pressure before Trinity ever stepped foot on a track, Bryan Station Coach Kathy Broadnax said. Broadnax never got to coach Trinity, but enjoyed watching her make her own impression on the Lexington track scene.
“But the way that she handled herself and the way she stood out as her own person, that was probably the most admirable thing about her,” Broadnax said. “She was his daughter but she left her own mark on track from a very young age. She was up there as seventh and eighth grader competing against seniors in high school. I think anyone in the track community looked at that like ‘Wow, she has that blood. She’s going to be a phenomenal athlete if she just continues to work and put in what she needs to on the track.’”
“Our hearts are broken this morning over the loss of Trinity to this tragic and senseless act of violence,” Fayette County Superintendent Manny Caulk said in a statement. “Please join us in keeping the Gay family close in thought and prayer and supporting the students, staff, and families at Lafayette High during this unspeakably difficult time.
Lafayette will have a team of counselors on hand for students Monday, spokeswoman Lisa Deffendall said.
In a statement on Twitter, Lafayette High School Principal Bryne Jacobs said, “We are devastated to lose Trinity. Our Lafayette family will come together to provide love and support for our students and one another during this tragic time.”