A father in Louisville, Kentucky, was killed in a random drive-by shooting while walking home following the birth of his twin children on June 23.
Tyrese Garvin, 20, had attended the birth at the University of Louisville Hospital earlier in the day. At around 6 p.m., he walked home and was shot along the way. Garvin was rushed back to the same hospital he had just left, where he stayed on life support for several days. On June 26, he was removed from life support and pronounced dead just after 3 p.m., a family member confirmed to TODAY, while his children were still in the hospital's maternity ward.
Since then, a crowdfunding effort for the family has gone viral, generating over $28,000 in just four days. According to Garvin's uncle Brandon Smiley, 32, who set up the GoFundMe page, the donations will be used to cover funeral and medical costs.
"It was unexpected," Smiley told TODAY by phone. "He had just gotten a job at GE, so he didn't have insurance and stuff like that. The family needed some support and help to kind of help with the funeral costs and medical expenses. He was on life support for a while; he's an organ donor so they had to keep him on there until they were ready to get his organs. Their bills are going to be quite outrageous."
Smiley said the results of the GoFundMe effort have been "truly amazing."
"People have — literally, just random strangers are just (donating)," he said. "It's done phenomenal."
Smiley added that a local group has also set up donations for clothes, diapers and other supplies for the newborn twins. He also confirmed that the babies are doing well and that they were brought down to meet Garvin before he was taken off life support.
According to the Louisville Metro Police Department, arrests have been made in the case.
"Three juveniles were arrested by officers, and a confession to the shooting was obtained by detectives," Officer Lamont Washington told TODAY by email. He also confirmed that the shooting appears to have been random, with no connection between the juveniles and Garvin. "The arrested juveniles were 14, 15, and 17 years old, and were driving in a stolen vehicle."
Washington added that all three juveniles have been charged with murder. No further updates about the case were available.
Smiley attributed the shooting to increasing gang violence in the area. Louisville has seen 47 homicides so far in 2019, with arrests made in 14 of those cases. At this time in 2018, there had been 39 homicides in the area.
Police recently held a press conference, which was livestreamed on Facebook, and cautioned residents to lock cars — "several" drive-by shootings have been committed using stolen cars, according to the department — and secure any weapons that may be accessible.
While helping to make funeral arrangements, Smiley took a moment to reflect on his nephew's life. "He had a contagious smile; he was full of life and very respectful," he said. "He had a good heart. He would always look you in the eye, with a firm handshake, call you sir or ma'am — I'll never forget that.
"We had Sunday family cookouts, and he was always the last one to eat; he would serve everybody, make sure they were taken care of first. He was a good kid."