Olympic runner Tyson Gay pleads for an end to gun violence at vigil remembering his 15-year-old daughter

Olympian Tyson Gay joins mourners for vigil after daughter’s death

Olympic sprinter Tyson Gay joined hundreds of people at a vigil at Lafayette High School to mourn the shooting death of his daughter, 15-year-old Trinity Gay.
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Olympic sprinter Tyson Gay joined hundreds of people at a vigil at Lafayette High School to mourn the shooting death of his daughter, 15-year-old Trinity Gay.

Standing on the track where he first made his mark as an athlete and where he hoped his little girl might do the same, Olympian Tyson Gay urged the Lexington community Monday to “stop the nonsense and violence” following the shooting death of his daughter Trinity early Sunday morning.

“As parents we do our best to raise our child the best we can. And sometimes things just happen; it’s out of our control. We only can look up and ask God why,” Gay said. “Sometimes, we don’t get that answer. I just want people to be safe and understand that we all have a life, and we all have dreams and when your fellow peer has a dream, it’s our job as brothers and sisters to come together and protect each other.”

Gay, 34, spoke in front of about 2,000 students and community members who wore pink and purple in remembrance of 15-year-old Trinity. The vigil was opened with the release of dozens of balloons into the night sky as the cries from Trinity’s friends and family broke the silence.

Also on the field Monday were Morgan Gaines, 16, and Alexa Garner, 17, who were with Trinity when she was shot about 4 a.m. Sunday.

Both students recalled being at Cook Out at 855 South Broadway for about two hours before the shooting just started out of nowhere. They were both sitting in the front seat of Gaines’ car; Trinity was outside the car, Gaines said.

“We were all just listening to music, talking, when we heard gunshots,” Gaines said. “My first instinct was to roll up the windows, lock the doors, duck down. It didn’t sound like bullets were passing my car. Somehow, the doors got unlocked and Trinity hops in behind me and she’s screaming, ‘I’ve been shot, I’ve been shot. Take me to the hospital.’”

While the students drove Trinity to St. Joseph’s Hospital, Garner got into the back seat to help keep her awake.

“I couldn’t find the (bullet) hole,” Garner said. “I was trying to find where the bleeding was coming from. She started seizing and passed out. She woke back up and she was like, ‘I’m going to stay up. Just get me to the hospital.’ You wouldn’t even think she got shot. There was no tears.”

Gay was eventually transferred to the University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital where she died from a gunshot wound to her neck.

“We are thankful and grateful for all of love, prayers, condolences, and food that has been sent,” the Gay family said in a statement issued Monday afternoon before the vigil. “We are a close family. We have a strong relationship with God. We are deeply saddened for how this has affected not only our family but the lives of others that has lost a child a friend, or relative by these senseless act of violence. We also believe we in love and forgiveness. We are also praying for the families of the shooters because this too is a loss.”

Dvonta Middlebrooks, 21, Chazerae M. Taylor, 38, and D’markeo C. Taylor, 19, were all charged with wanton endangerment. Middlebrooks was also charged with possession of a handgun by a felon. The Taylors are father and son.

All three men pleaded not guilty to Fayette District Judge Bruce T. Bell Monday. D’markeo and Chazerae Taylor’s bond was set at $5,000 each and Middlebrooks’ was $12,500. The three men are due back in court on Oct. 25.

Trinity was a big influence on the Lafayette track team, which has between 50 and 60 students, said fellow teammates Lamiah Campbell, 15, and Maya Homer, 17.

Trinity had taught Campbell how to get out of the starting blocks much quicker. Homer remembered how important it was to Trinity to forge her own path in the world of track and field.

“She wanted to have her own goals, she wanted to have her own dreams, she wanted to achieve something without being compared to her dad,” Garner said. “She wanted to make her own stage, her own reputation and wanted to leave behind something as good or better than her dad did here.”

Principal Bryne Jacobs, coach Crystal Washington and teacher Rhonda Mullins spoke about the loss of sophomore student Trinity Gay during a press conference at Lafayette High School. Trinity Gay is the daughter of Olympian Tyson Gay.

Hannah, a therapy dog owned by Southern Middle School counselor Robin Potter, was brought into the school so students mourning the loss of Trinity Gay could hug and pet her. Hannah, “has probably brought more joy and calmness to our situation this

Fernando Alfonso III: 859-231-1324, @fernalfonso