Mother of football player killed by gunfire blames lack of guidance

Khalilah Gray speaks out on 20th birthday of Shy’Heem Clemons
Khalilah Gray holds a football that belonged to her late son, Shy’Heem Clemons
Khalilah Gray holds a football that belonged to her late son, Shy’Heem Clemons(WHNS)
Published: Aug. 24, 2022 at 1:53 AM EDT
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ANDERSON, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - On Aug. 23, the day that Shy’Heem Clemons would have turned 20, his mother spent the day remembering his life before gunfire ended it.

Khalilah Gray went through a box of Clemons’ treasured belongings - including sports plaques from T.L. Hanna, an encouraging note from his high school football coach and his graduation robe from 2020. She looked at old photographs and watched a video message that Clemons texted her before a game with Greensboro College, where he attended school on football scholarship.

“Everything he did make me proud,” Gray told Fox Carolina. “To know that when he would walk out the door he would represent me and his father made me very proud of him.”

Clemons died at Prisma Health Greenville Memorial Hospital on July 10, a day after he was shot at the Anderson Mall. Police said an argument escalated in gunfire, and the suspect, Eimillio Tyleekus Que Robinson, turned himself in on July 11.

“My son wasn’t the first to be killed,” Gray said. “Unfortunately...he’s not going to be the last. We have to find out what is the roots to the problem with these young men in these guns.”

Chief Jim Stewart, with the Anderson Police Department, said shootings are a growing trend among men in their 20′s. Stewart said he was at a task force meeting at Westside High when he asked a young man about the prevalence of gun violence among his age group.

“He said, ‘I know I can shoot somebody and never have to deal with them again,’” Stewart told FOX Carolina.

The police chief said he reminded the young man that prison sentences for gun violence would force offenders to deal with their actions for 20 to 30 years.

“He said, ‘We really don’t think about stuff like that. We just want an immediate answer to the problem,’” Stewart said.

Gray said she wants to work with community leaders to find better ways to prepare young people for adulthood.

“These young men...have too much time on their hands,” Gray said “You have individuals that don’t have any type of goals or guidance or any wish to do better.”

Gray also held a balloon release in memory of her son.

“I don’t want another mother feeling what I feel regarding burying their child,” Gray said. “I don’t want another young man feeling...that he needs to take a man’s life because he doesn’t like what he said.”