Tyson Gay urges community to stop violence at candlelit vigil for his teenage daughter who was fatally shot

'Life is not a joke,' says the Olympic sprinter

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Thousands have joined Olympic sprinter Tyson Gay at a candlelit vigil in honour of his 15-year-old daughter who was fatally shot on Sunday.

Trinity Gay, a rising young star on the track team, was shot in the neck after being caught in crossfire in a restaurant car park in Lexington, Kentucky. The Fayette County Coroner said she died of her injuries on Sunday just before 5am.

Gay and her mother, Shoshanna Boyd, embraced during the tearful memorial service on Sunday night. The event was held on the athletic track of Lafayette High School where their daughter was a talented young hopeful.

The emotionally charged event began with the release of dozens of balloons into the night sky. Many of those gathered wore Trinity’s favourite colours of pink and purple and brandished handmade signs in memory of her.

“I want you guys to love each other, have peace and protect each other,” Gay said. “That's what Trinity would have wanted. ... Life is not a joke.” 

The 34-year-old Olympian, who is the USA’s 100m record holder, said he was numb from crying over her death.

US athlete Tyson Gay and his daughter Trinity Gay who was shot dead (Facebook)

According to the Lexington Herald Leader, Gay urged the community to “stop the nonsense and violence”.

“I just want people to be safe and understand that we all have a life,” he said. “We all have dreams, and when your fellow peer has a dream, it’s our job as brothers and sisters to come together and protect each other.”

Trinity was fatally shot in the neck while eating at a Cook Out branch in Lexington, Kentucky on Sunday. She died at the University of Kentucky Medical Center, the coroner's office for Fayette County said in a statement.