NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - There was an outpouring of support on a Friday night for the family of a Hillsboro High School freshman who was shot and killed on his front porch earlier this month.

Metro Police said E.J. Utley was shot on the front porch of his home on Feb. 4. Two teens are in custody for his murder.

On a freezing night in February, Utley's family held a vigil at Hartman Community Park in Nashville. For State Sen. Brenda Gilmore she said the vigil is personal. Her daughter grew up with Utley's mother. She said to see his life taken at 15 years old makes her heartsick.

"Although the grandparents have gone on to glory, I know they would be so sad to see their grandson's life cut short like this," said Gilmore, who represented the 19th District since 2019. "I'm here to support her family and to send a strong message to young people in this city to try to stay away from violence, especially gun violence."

Others who knew E.J. said they saw healing within his family and education within the community's vigil. Education that might activate the resources kids need to succeed, who might otherwise be tempted by violence.

"This is a start to take hold of what took place and see if we can get these kids some more help than what they didn't have access to, making this irrational decision in taking a life," said community member Catherine Miller Bowers.

Gilmore says the violence we're seeing in young people is something police can't solve by themselves.

"We want them to be so successful, to have bright futures, go on to college, go on to the working world, Gilmore added. "We might have a President in this bunch. To see them get involved in negative activities is such a tragedy."

A GoFund Me account has been set-up for the Utley family. Organizers say donations are needed.

WSMV.com is now with you on the go! Get the latest news updates and video, 4WARN weather forecast, weather radar, special investigative reports, sports headlines and much more from News4 Nashville.

>> Click/tap here to download our free mobile app. <<


Copyright 2020 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Locations

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.