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Family remembers mall shooting victim

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TYLER, TX (KLTV) -

23-year-old Christopher Mass was shot twice in the Broadway Square Mall parking lot in Tyler after an argument that reportedly started on Twitter.

Tyler police say 25-year-old Ricky Neal Jr. shot at Mass and two other men with a .44 Caliber handgun. Mass was the only person hit.

Mass' family members say Chris left behind a lot of loved ones.

"This has been a bonding moment. We are dealing with it, we are grappling with it, and it is bringing us closer together," says Eric Broughton, Mass' Uncle.

Broughton says he is trying to focus on the positive memories of Chris, "We are remembering him as a fun loving, strong, wanted to be a successful person in the community."

"He was a good kid. I have no one else that would say anything different," says Henry Hamilton, a member of the North Tenneha Church of Christ in Tyler.

Hamilton remembers Mass as a star athlete, "I would always talk to his grandfather and he would tell me about how he could palm a basketball when he was in the 9th or 10th grade."

That talent helped Mass lead Chapel Hill High School to the state basketball tournament in 2007.

Broughton says the number of people who showed up at the mall on Saturday to remember Mass was incredible.

He says he is happy to hear the positive influence Mass had on so many lives, "Now we are finding more and more people coming forward in the community telling us the things he was involved in so we're really proud."

The Mass family says Chris was not directly involved in the argument that led up to the shooting. They say the tragic outcome is a message for young people.

"Don't be so quick to misunderstand. Try to talk things out rather than be violent ... Chris can't come back because this is the way that they decided to settle that particular argument," Broughton says.

A harsh reality for church members who say Mass was getting his life back on track.

"We were hoping that he would come on in and do what he needed to do as a member of the church here," Hamilton says.

As funeral arrangements for Mass are made, Broughton has one more thing on his mind.

"If there was something I would like to tell the community it's ... Love your family while you can."

The names of the two other men who were shot at have not been released. Police say Neal Jr. was the only person who was armed. 

Copyright 2013 KLTV. All rights reserved.

 


 

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