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Family mourns 18-year-old killed in shooting on Detroit's west side

'We just want justice for TJ — that’s all'
Posted at 11:14 PM, Mar 13, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-13 23:14:49-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — A family is mourning a high school athlete who was shot and killed two months before graduation.

Eighteen-year-old Terrance Coker Jr., known as TJ, transferred to Davison High School in Genesee County for his senior year after two years at Henry Ford High School in Detroit. He was in Detroit last week when he was shot and killed just after midnight on the morning of March 7 near West McNichols Road and James Couzens Freeway.

Nearly a week later at a park in Taylor, a sunny spring day was spent mourning the loss of a young man taken too soon.

"I appreciate all of y'all coming out to show your love and support for my son,” TJ's mother Wykeem Smith told the crowd that gathered. “He loved all of y'all, and that's why you're here.”

Smith put together a private balloon release for close family and friends.

“He is sweet, he is kind, he is loving," Smith said of her son. "He is everything you could want in a son.”

TJ was a popular football and basketball player at Davison High School who was set to graduate in about two months.

“Instead of planning a prom, I'm planning a funeral," Smith said. "That’s kind of messed up.”

Smith says the shooting happened on the Lodge Service Drive near McNichols. Detroit police posted on the Ring Neighbors App, saying TJ was driving a silver Lexus and was being chased by a white vehicle when he was gunned down. Smith arrived on the scene shortly after.

“You don't want to see your baby like that," Smith said. "I literally saw him shot, slumped over in the car with bullet holes riddled in the car. No parent should have to see their kid like that — nobody. It’s horrific.”

Nearly a week after the tragedy, Smith is surrounded by family and close friends, holding a private balloon release to honor their son, while also pleading for answers.

“We just want justice for TJ — that’s all," TJ's father Terrance Coker Sr. said. "The city won't rest until we get justice.”

“He didn't deserve this. He did not deserve this at all,” Smith said. "Somebody definitely knows what happened and I just urge you to speak up. You wouldn't want to feel my pain.”

As balloons filled the sky, family and friends watched on through tears, knowing the young man they know and love will never be forgotten.

“He was a mentor, friend, brother, cousin... They took a big part of the community, not just my family," Smith said. "Everybody loved TJ.”

If you have any video or any information, you can contact Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-SPEAK-UP.