Family Photo Tyrell Sims
Police are trying to find the suspect or suspects who fatally shot an 11-year-old Georgia boy who had just helped his best friend’s grandmother put up a Christmas tree.
Tyrell Sims and his 12-year-old friend were walking across the street in East Point Friday evening when the drive-by shooting occurred, police say.
Witnesses told police a black Chrysler or Lexis Sedan fired into a crowd that was standing on the street. Police are trying to determine if anyone in the crowd fired back at the car.
"There were two groups apparently beefing, and a car drove by and apparently shot into the crowd. And we don’t know at this point if the people they were shooting at returned fire," East Point Police Department Capt. Allyn Glover tells PEOPLE.
It is unclear if the shot that killed Tyrell came from the vehicle.
Tyrell was shot in the head as he was crossing the street.
"This was an absolutely totally innocent victim who was hit," says Glover. "He was an honor role student at school."
Tyrell's father Conrad Sims told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that after he heard that his son was shot, he rushed to the scene.
“I tried to bring him back,” he told the paper. “I believe I did all I could.”
Tyrell was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital, where he died of his injuries. Tyrell's friend was not injured in the shooting.
The motive behind the shooting is unclear.
An Honor Roll Student Who Loved Football
Sims said he and his son had celebrated earlier that day because the boy got all A's on his report card. He had taken him to the mall to buy him a gift to congratulate him.
“I didn’t know that would be the last time talking to him or hugging him,” he said, WSB-TV reported.
Tyrell’s mother Cathy Smith told 11Alive that she wants justice for her son.
"It was so fast — I didn't expect to do this, I didn't, I didn't expect to bury my baby, period," she said. "I need everything I can get to make sure my baby can be in peace."
"Man, he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Tyrell's uncle, Kevin Bryant said, 11Alive reported. "Could've been anybody. I hate that it was him."
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A GoFundMe page set up to help with funeral expenses described Tyrell as a bright student who loved football and was “a leader to his team, players and little brother Carter.”
“Ty was a kid that put others before [himself]," the page states. "To the world, Ty is another tragedy. But to us he is our baby and we are demanding justice. Ty loved the simple things in life and now his life has been taken.”
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to contact the East Point Police Department at 404-761-2177.