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Teen killed during suspected drug deal; mother encourages classmates to make smart choices

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KOKOMO, Ind.- A community is remembering a teenager murdered during a drug deal gone wrong.

Sunday afternoon, 17-year-old LaMarcus McGraw was shot and killed in an alley behind the Village Pantry on Jefferson Street.

McGraw’s friends, teachers and mother showed up for a vigil in the alley where died. There were flowers, tears and memories shared but this vigil was more focused on change.

“When is it going to end? I say today,” said Alonzo Smith, a teacher at The Crossing.

The day after McGraw was killed, his mother went to his school, The Crossing. She encouraged the teenagers to stay away from drugs and learn from your mistakes.

“We want to try to prevent 1, 2, 3, 4 people from going down this road. We don’t want three more lives to be messed up in the alley,” said Kaynia McGraw-Hendrix, LaMarcus’s mother.

Within hours of the deadly shooting, neighbors put up warning signs near the alley which they call drug deal drive-thru.

“We have a ton of kids in this neighborhood who ride their bikes and play outside. It could’ve been my daughter. My daughter could’ve been shot. My neighbor’s kids here could’ve got shot,” said Jimmy Jones, a neighbor.

Shortly after the shooting, police arrested a 15-year-old for attempted robbery and drug charges. 21-year-old Kaliel Rucker was arrested for McGraw’s murder in addition to drug possession and dealing charges.

“I have no ill will against his mother. She lost her son and I forgive you young man. I forgive you with every ounce in my body. I forgive you. I’m here for you. I will pray for you,” said McGraw-Hendrix.

Forgiveness is in the past, now this mother is focused on the future.

“We deserve to be able to raise our family and we’ve all got to step up. Adults have to step up. Kids got to step up. The church has to step up. The community has to step up. Each and every one of us needs to step up," said McGraw-Hendrix.

McGraw would’ve graduated in June. He wanted to be an engineer.

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