Family and friends mourn victim of MTSU shooting

Published: May. 20, 2022 at 8:34 AM EDT
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MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WSMV) - A community is mourning after a deadly shooting after a high school graduation in Murfreesboro on Wednesday night.

18-year-old Sunny Gant was a 2021 graduate of Riverdale High School. He was shot and killed following Riverdale’s graduation at MTSU’s Murphy Center on Wednesday.

Friends say Sunny went to the ceremony to watch his younger teammates on the football team graduate.

Sunny’s mother, Natalie Gant, is mourning the loss of her 18-year-old son.

“If I told you I was ok, I would be lying,” Natalie Gant said. “This is like the hardest thing that I have ever went through in almost 40 years. You can never prepare for your child to pass this tragically.”

Natalie says she got the call at work last night, then headed to the hospital.

“On the drive there, this is not my child, they have my child confused with someone else. This is not my baby,” Natalie was hoping.

More than a hundred people came gathered at Murfreesboro Civic Plaza to honor Sunny’s life.

Many of those who spoke were his football teammates at Riverdale High School, visibly torn up by what happened to their friend.

“I done cried a lot. I don’t know if I have any tears left,” said C.J. Johnson. “I was fake punching the air. My mom and dad had to come get me.”

“These kids are emotional. A young man got killed, murdered and it is tough,” said Will Kriesky, Sunny’s football coach. “What do you say to them? I don’t have answers for them.”

Natalie Gant struggles to stay positive.

“I can’t even look to tomorrow,” she said at the gathering on Thursday. “I need to make sure I’m ok in the next five moments, so it is tough.

Police say Sunny and a 17-year-old Riverdale High School junior were fighting near the tennis court, just outside the Murphy Center on MTSU’s campus, when another 17-year-old opened fire.

Sunny was killed and the young boy he was fighting with was injured, but the shooter was able to slip away in the crowd.

The 17-year-old suspect was arrested yesterday afternoon, in Clarksville.

Riverdale High School will remain closed on Friday. However, teachers and counselors will be available. Classes are expected to resume on Monday.

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