Will McGee was just shy of getting his high school diploma before he was gunned down.
"They just took a good kid. My baby," said his mother, Larena Lillard. "And if we keep allowing it, it'll be somebody else's son."
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"He made everybody smile by the way he act, or who he met," said his older sister, Daisy McGee. "Everybody loved him! And it's just crazy that so many people loved him!"
McGee was on East 98th Street just off of South Drexel Avenue Thursday afternoon when police say someone targeted him in a carjacking just before 2 p.m.
His family said he texted loved ones while he was being surrounded by multiple vehicles.
"And as he start to running from him, one of the guys shot him in the back. Killed him ... as he was running away, fleeing from them!" the Rev. Willie McGee, his father, said. "They could've had the car. They could've had any of that. I would've gave anything. I would've gave my life for my son!"
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His lifeless body was left on the cold pavement while investigators said the suspect drove away with his silver Chevy Equinox. According to family members, the vehicle was found a short time later, but the car thief was nowhere to be found.
"I just didn't believe it was him," his mother said. "And I still didn't believe it until they let me go in and see him... It hurts. I really want them to find who did this. We need some justice!"
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Family members said McGee had saved up to buy the new car. He was a senior at Excel Academy of Roseland and had just won homecoming king. He was a teen with a bright future ahead whose life was cut short before he could reach his goals.
McGee planned to enlist in the military after high school, and he died on Veterans Day.
"I'll never get over this! Never! This is something I can never in my life get over," his father said.
As police continue to search for the suspect or suspects in the case, family members plan to lay McGee to rest on Monday.