AUSTIN (KXAN) - The mother of 18-year-old Gerrell Earls, shot and killed at the Walnut Creek Apartments early Friday morning, said she is just "trying to hold on."
Police continue to investigate the deadly shooting that happened around 1:40 a.m. in the same apartment complex where police shot and killed 18-year-old Nathaniel Sanders in 2009.
Earls' mother, Felicia Washington, said the father of two was at the apartment complex visiting an aunt and cousin. According to them, they saw someone chasing Earls with a gun and said the next thing they knew, he was shot.
"Teenagers grow up, and they think it's elementary school where you fight and it's alright," said Washington. "But now, when you fight and get a gun, that's not cool."
Most of the Walnut Creek Apartments complex off Springdale Road in East Austin was sealed off early Friday morning by police tape as officers tried to piece together what led up to the killing. Police towed a 2005 Buick sedan from the scene, but it is not publicly known how it is related to the incident.
"We're not clear on what started the incident or if there is one suspect or several suspects involved in this homicide," said Austin Police Department Sgt. Scott Perry.
Witnesses told police they saw several people running from the parking lot.
EMS crews tried to save Earls, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Describing him as the class clown, Washington said Earls was on the football team and a junior when he dropped out of McCallum High School because he started having kids.
Earls' children are 4- and 2 years old. The 2-year-old celebrates her birthday Friday -- now the same day that marks her father's killing.
Meanwhile, Washington said Earls has been in trouble with the law before, though the extent of that is unclear at this time.
Back in May 2009, Sanders was shot and killed by officer Leonardo Quintana at the same apartment complex.
Sanders was asleep in the backseat of a station wagon being driven by Michael Franklin. Another man, Sir Lawrence Smith, was also asleep in the car, but in the passenger seat.
Franklin drove into the Walnut Creek Apartments complex with the alleged intention to drop off Sanders and Smith. Franklin then noticed the cop car following him into the complex.
Police have said they were investigating a report of a suspicious vehicle, specifically that the station wagon matched the description given by local residents of a car that was involved in some shooting incidents over the weekend.
Franklin got out of the car, and Quintana approached and detained him. At that time, Quintana tried to wake up Sanders in the backseat.
Quintana and police officials said Sanders reached for a gun while he tried to wake him, thus forcing Quintana to respond with lethal force.
Police said they have not been called to the complex for any serious crimes since that incident.
"As of late, there have not been any problems and not a large number of calls compared to other places," said Perry.
Anyone with information is asked to call police.
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