National News

Police continue search for killer of 14-year-old boy who escaped custody

Posted June 13

— Flowers and a stuffed animal sit outside the fence near the corner of Phipps and Lunn Drives where 14-year-old Tirell Hill was shot and killed.

Neighbors said more than 100 people - family, teachers from Joelton Middle and friends - filled the street on Sunday for a candlelight vigil.

"We've had some other incidents within the community, so this has been a real concern not only for me but all of my neighbors," said Michael McLendon who heard the gunshots from inside his home Friday.

"I know that I looked at the pain in the mom's face yesterday, and know that this cannot continue in Nashville," said state Rep. Brenda Gilmore, D-Nashville. "I took that opportunity to talk to those young people and to tell them please don't try to retaliate. Violence is not the answer, that enough is enough.

"The young people have to take responsibility that there are other options of settling disputes other than killing each other."

Metro Police are looking for the person who shot and killed a Tirell, who was in the custody of the Tennessee Department of Children's Services but had been on the run for nearly a month.

Tirell's mother was too distraught to go on camera but told Channel 4 her son had been in state custody since October 2016. She said he was first placed in a group home, but ran away. He was then placed in a home with foster parents in Antioch.

Police said he ran away from that home on May 19 and had been gone since.

"They should have been able to locate him and then have him back in their custody," McLendon said. He said the community needs to pull together to offer more constructive programs for teens.

Police said Hill was targeted on Friday when he was gunned down in a Bordeaux neighborhood. Channel 4 asked DCS why he had been missing for nearly a month and why no one publicized he was gone or was able to find him.

DCS said its policy is to call local police and file a report when a child goes missing.

DCS said its staff meets with Nashville detectives to share information about runners and case workers follow up with family and friends to see where the child may be.

Tirell's mother said detectives told her police were looking for her son, but she said no one ever found him.

Neighbors said a social media dispute may have been in part to blame for the shooting.

A neighbor said a black Nissan Altima with black tinted windows and a spoiler on the trunk drove down a dead end road before fleeing the neighborhood. Police are looking for that car.

Metro Police is investigating the death along with the DCS Special Investigations Unit. Police are looking for anyone with information on Hill's whereabouts, especially the past week.

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