A 19-year-old football player from Waggener (Louisville) High School who had dreams of playing in college was identified as the victim of a shooting in Shawnee overnight, leaving school staff and friends to grieve for his loss.
Tyson Gibbs, 19, of Louisville was pronounced dead at the scene from multiple gun shot wounds Saturday night, according to Deputy Coroner Jack Arnold. He was shot less than a block from his house.
Allison Martin, JCPS spokeswoman, confirmed that Tyson Gibbs was a senior at Waggener last school year and played on the football team.
Louisville Metro Police Department officers responded to the shooting and found Gibbs’ body in the parking area behind an apartment building at the scene in the 400 block of S. 38th Street.
No arrests had been made as of late Saturday night, and LMPD spokeswoman Alicia Smiley said the Homicide Unit is investigating.
Waggener High mental health counselor Tangi Jones was out on a nice date with her husband on Saturday evening, so for once she didn’t immediately start thinking the worst when she got a news alert about a teenager shot and killed in the Shawnee neighborhood.
But when she got home to texts and calls from coaches and family friends of Gibbs, her heart sank. Gibbs had been one of her favorite students – a teen with a large physical presence who was loved by many in his school and community for his generosity and caring.
“I realized how smart, how intelligent he was, so insightful and loyal,” Jones said. “I saw him be compassionate to himself and other students…. I felt like there were moments where he’d allow me to see a different side of him.”
She said she worried about his safety, and often his name was the first to pop into her mind when she’d hear about a teen being shot in the city. Gibbs had lost a sister to gun violence a few years ago, she said. And she said he’d been shot before, a little more than a year ago, but survived.
“Tyson had so much potential. I saw him working toward healing and trusting me enough to be transparent with me and share his fears, his sadness, his joys and hopes and dreams,” Jones said.
Jones said Gibbs – whose nickname was Red – often struggled with attendance in school but had dreams of playing college football outside of Kentucky.
“He wanted to get out of his situation, but struggled with how to do it,” said Jones, who also is part of a team that responds to crises at area schools and offers grief and mental health support. “He wanted to find a way to be successful in life that didn’t involve having to do anything illegal and having to be worried about watching his back.”
Jones said Waggener will feel the loss of his presence when school starts again in August.
“Red had people who loved him. He had a community, he had values, he had decency about himself,” Jones said. “He was so special to me and so many other people.”