Family of Tacoma student killed near bus stop says he "loved everybody"

A memorial is now growing at a bus stop where a Tacoma teenager was shot and killed at around 3:00 pm Thursday afternoon. 

His aunt, Alyivia Siess, says 14-year-old Xaviar was a kind child who loved everyone. She says family members told her that he was on the way to buy candy or food at a nearby store when he was shot and killed off Portland Ave East.

"It's completely devastating. He's a part of our unit. He's our team and, to lose him is like, we've just been torn apart," said Alyivia. 

Witnesses said there were around five people near the bus stop at the time of the shooting, including other young people. 

"There really is no justice. He was a child," said Alyivia. "It's sad-the crime rate, violence. It has to stop. It's out of control." 

"He said that he heard the shots, and he heard the police saying everybody needs to get back inside, get back inside," said Lauren Ansingh.   

Ansingh's son is a 4th grade student at Blix Elementary. The school sits just a few hundred feet away from the bus stop. He was inside the school at the time of the shooting.

"He heard the sirens, he said he heard what he thought was firecrackers and then everybody all of a sudden, locked down and there were announcements and sirens," said Ansingh. "He’s done drills before. Once he realized that it was a real lockdown, he was absolutely terrified." 

A person who works nearby, and who wanted to remain anonymous for safety reasons, said he heard five shots. He described them as sounding like rapid, semi-automatic gunfire. He joined a handful of people who had gathered around the teen, trying to help him. The man said that the 14-year-old appeared alert, but in shock. He said paramedics had to lean in so that they could hear him tell them his name. Later, the witness learned that the teen had passed away after being taken to the hospital.

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Some witnesses reported that the gunman was shooting form a car, and it was difficult to tell if it was directed at a car or at the people at the bus stop. 

"There are so many children around at that time of day. Middle schools are letting out. High schools are letting out. It’s a very active time," said Ansingh. 

Tacoma Public Schools issued a statement calling the loss devastating. It read, "Tacoma Public Schools is Focused on providing additional supports to our students and staff during this very difficult time. Our crisis teams are in schools today, talking to students and staff to help them deal with the tragic loss of their 14-year-old friend and student."  

"We offer our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones, as well as others grieving across our entire community. Although any loss of life is unacceptable, it is even more painful when we see a young life cut short," said Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards.

"It’s extremely scary to have a child that was so close to a shooting," said Ansingh. "He has asked us if he can change schools – if he can be homeschooled from now on. He asked us to buy him a smartwatch, so he can contact us if there is an active shooter in his school. He’s ten. He shouldn’t have to be worried about these things." 

"He's always been loved by everyone around him, his teachers, his friends. It's devastating, said Alyivia. 

Tacoma Police say the teen's death is being investigated as a homicide. They have not yet released any suspect information as of early Friday evening.

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This is a developing story.