GREENSBORO, N.C. — The family of a 15-year-old Greensboro teen is mourning his life after it was taken by what his family is calling an accidental shooting.
One day after his tragic death, loved ones of Dytwan Gatling gathered for a candlelight vigil. About 40 people showed up to honor the teen who was known for his contagious smile.
“I remember his jokes. He had jokes for days, and that smile,” Tania Long, Dytwan’s grandmother said. “He was a good all-around person. He had a great heart. Very genuine, well-loved, well-known.”
One of his dad’s fondest memories were of his son playing football. His dad, Raytwan Gatling, said Dytwan was a quarterback.
Gatling said the show of support from loved ones who showed up to his son’s vigil shined a light on Dytwan’s impact on those he came across.
“It makes me feel real good to know a lot of people liked him,” Gatling said.
His 15 years of life cut short by a senseless tragedy.
“Playing with guns. Something he shouldn’t be doing,” Gatling said.
His family told FOX8 on Sunday that Dytwan and his friends were hanging out at someone’s house located on the 1000 block of Fir Place when a gun they had somehow went off—striking the teen and ending his life.
“COVID already taking us, and now it’s the guns taking us. It’s just sad. It’s a sad tragedy,” Gatling said.
Will Pettiford worked as a behavioral specialist in Guilford County Schools and used to mentor the teen.
“From day one, Dytwan was in my hip pocket,” Pettiford said. “Dytwan was a kid that could really piss you off and make you bust out laughing all at the same time,” he said.
This is roughly Pettiford’s fourth former student killed by a gun in the past year.
Dywtan’s loved ones hope that his story can serve as a cautionary tale for any young person trying to get their hands on a gun.
“Let this be a tragedy for the rest of the young kids out her that want to grow up too fast. Slow down, it will come to you,” Gatling said. “Once it comes, you won’t even be ready for the role.”
A funeral will be held next Tuesday, Feb. 9 on what would have been Dytwan’s 16th birthday.
A juvenile was arrested and charged with involuntary manslaughter in relation to his killing.