Soccer tournament to honor shooting victim

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KALAMAZOO COUNTY, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – The family of the youngest person killed in the Kalamazoo shootings is announcing a major event in the teen’s honor.

Tyler Smith would have celebrated his 19th birthday this week. Now, his mother is inviting the community to celebrate her son’s life by taking part in a soccer tournament in his honor this June.

“His face lit up when he was playing soccer,” said Tyler’s mother, Laurie Smith.

Laurie says soccer was her son’s life passion, and she hopes to carry on his legacy through the sport that he loved.

Tyler was just 17 when he and his father Rich were shot and killed outside Seelye Kia in February of 2016. A total of six people died that night. Another two were critically wounded.

Laurie says the community support in the wake of the shooting rampage helped keep her going and she’s hoping for a large showing at this summer’s tournament.

“It is very important to our family that the bad that took them is not what’s focused on,” said Laurie, “and this tournament is another example of how we can get together, do something that Tyler loved and Rich loved to watch, we all love to watch and get together with friends and play soccer.”

The tournament is being put on by Tyler’s coach, Dan Bully, with the Dan Bully Soccer School.

Money raised will be split between DBSS, a soccer scholarship in Tyler’s honor and the ForeverStrong Memorial Foundation.

Newschannel 3 asked Laurie for an update on the memorial plans. She says the foundation is in the process of finalizing a location and that a feasibility study is set to begin this summer.

Meanwhile, registration for the soccer tournament is now open. It’s scheduled for June 24th in Galesburg. You can learn more here;

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