Hayward teen remembered for vibrant, giving life at emotional vigil

HAYWARD, Calif. (KTVU) -- The family and friends of a 17-year-old recent high school graduate on Tuesday night were mourning the young man’s death after he was killed during an early morning shooting in Hayward.

Friends created a memorial at the scene and held a vigil in memory of Kionta Murphy. They told KTVU they are stunned by his death. They lit candles for a young life snuffed out suddenly.

Kionta Murphy graduated from Mount Eden High School less than two months ago in June.

"Everyone is here because they loved your brother," Kionta's mother Theresa Murphy said to his younger sister.

His family took comfort in the many friends and former schoolmates who attended the vigil.

Kionta's father, Kionta Murphy Senior, addressed the crowd.

"Thank you all for showing up. For showing how much my son meant to you," he said.

The grieving family said all lives matter.

"Nobody values life anymore until something like this happens," said Kionta's father.

At around 1 a.m. Tuesday morning, Kionta was walking with a 17-year-old female friend when he was approached by three Latinos, ages 17 or 18.

Police said after a brief exchange, one of them shot Kionta. The three left the scene in a silver or grey SUV. Police said the motive for the killing is unclear and noted that Kionta had no criminal history.

His father told KTVU he never say this coming and said that his son was walking a friend home when he was killed.

"He meant the world to me. Part of my world is gone now," said Kionta Murphy Senior.

Friends said Kionta made friends easily. He was on his high school wrestling and football teams.

Kionta's mother spoke about his plan to join the U.S. Marines. She spoke directly to those who killed him.

"He wanted to be for his country and you took a life from us. Me and his father, from his sister, prematurely," said Theresa Murphy.

His family says Kionta helped feed the hungry at his church and sang in the choir.  

"He's just wonderful. He'll be missed," said the grief-stricken father about his son.

The family is urging Kionta's friends to turn their anger into something productive by helping others.

"He died a Marine," said Theresa Murphy.

Hayward Unified School District officials described Kionta Murphy as a vibrant and active student,saying that the district honors the contributions he made to his school community. 

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