Anthony Carter moved to Lexington from Michigan six months ago in pursuit of a better life.
He was looking for a job so he could support his seven children and eventually move them here, said his younger brother Alford Jones.
"I kept telling him this was a better place," Jones said. "Leave Michigan. There aren't any jobs. I was telling him. ... He has support here."
Carter, 47, was still trying to find his way when he was killed early Wednesday. Police said Carter was fatally shot near Fourth and Chestnut streets.
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Police went to the 400 block of Chestnut Street about 5:40 a.m. after a resident reported hearing a gunshot. That resident went outside a few minutes later to find Carter lying in the street.
Carter, whose nickname was "Tone," died at 6:16 a.m. at University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital, according to the Fayette County Coroner's office.
No arrests have been made.
Police spokeswoman Sherelle Roberts said a witness reported seeing someone riding away on a bicycle after the shooting. Roberts said she didn't have any other details. Carter's slaying was Lexington's seventh homicide this year.
Carter's family doesn't know why anyone would shoot him. Carter — who bounced around, living with either his mother or sister — mostly kept to himself. He enjoyed playing basketball and watching UK sports.
"He was a real friendly person and never knew a stranger," Jones said after embracing other grieving relatives in the front yard of the family's home on Chestnut.
"It's bad that it takes a death to bring people together and to realize life is short," Jones said.
Jones said his fondest memory of Carter was during their years in Michigan and playing pickup basketball games. Carter, the oldest of four children, would choose Jones as his teammate. If they won, everything was OK, but if they lost, "he would beat me up," Jones said, laughing.
Carter was breathing when he was found, but he died shortly after arriving at UK Hospital. A gunshot wound was listed as the cause of death on the coroner's report. His family thinks someone was holding Carter as he was dying, and they are grateful he didn't die alone.
Detectives went door to door, asking residents whether they had seen or heard anything.
Officers also photographed what appeared to be a shell casing or casings in the street, and they took detailed measurements. They also took many photographs of a jacket lying in the grass near the curb on Chestnut Street just north of Fourth Street.
Jones said the family is pleading with anyone who might have seen what happened because his children deserve to know what happened to their father. That's something he's dreading to tell his nieces and nephew.
"We don't know how we're going to bury him, but he's going to be missed," Jones said.