‘He was a good kid:’ Family remembers 16-year-old killed Saturday near Southbend Park

Published 8:41 pm Tuesday, March 7, 2023

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On Saturday night, 16-year-old Nasir Truitt was tragically shot and killed outside of Southbend Park. In his wake, Truitt leaves behind a legacy of hope, love and kindness.

Nasir’s mother, Erica Truitt, remembers her son as sweet, humble and adventurous.

“Nasir wouldn’t harm anybody. It would have taken a lot for him to retaliate,” Erica said. “You could’ve kept talking about him, and he would get up and walk away. He was a good kid — my big ole teddy bear.”

Erica said her son loved his family, fireworks, clothes and food.

Nasir’s grandmother, Telsey Alford, remembers her grandson as funny and loving.

“Nasir was funny and always kept me laughing. He was a loving guy and would have never hurt nobody,” Alford said.

Yormica Truitt-Jordan remembers her godson as a happy kid.

“It didn’t take a lot to keep him happy — the smallest things could bring the biggest smile to his face,” Truitt-Jordan said. “He loved his family. I was telling someone earlier today, in our family, our cousins are our friends, and our friends are our cousins because we are just that close.”

LaTaria Truitt remembers her cousin as being loving, caring and respectful.

“Nasir was nosy but always had a smile on his face. He was an all-around great person,” LaTaria said.

Landis Swanson, Nasir’s father, said he was respectful, energetic and well-mannered.

“Of all my kids, I was always a little tougher on Nasir. I wanted to make sure he did right in life and didn’t go down the wrong path,” Swanson said. “He never talked back to me and was a good kid — I thank him and appreciate him for that.”

On that Saturday, Erica recalls seeing Nasir come in the house, look to see if she had cooked and asked her if she would bring him something to eat on her way home from work.

“I can’t tell you what else he was doing — almost two hours after I got to work I got the phone call,” Erica said.

Swanson said he thanks God that he was able to speak to Nasir just hours before he died.

“I will never forget his voice. It’s going to play forever in my head. I just talked to Nasir Saturday. I didn’t know that was going to be my last time talking to him. I thank God he gave me the opportunity to talk to my son that day,” Swanson said.

Erica said Truitt played football for LaGrange High in ninth grade and wanted to rejoin the team again when he entered the eleventh grade.

“I remember the day when they passed out their jerseys the day before his first game. I was sitting in the car and Nasir came running down the sidewalk, ready to show me his jersey. He said, ‘Ma look at my jersey. I’m the last number Mama, I like 99’,” Erica said. “We had to go get a haircut, shoes — he wanted to be clean going to school for his first game — he was so happy.”

A GoFundMe has been created to help the family with funeral expenses. At the time of publishing, the fundraiser had raised $5,400 going above the original goal of $5,000.

“Seeing all the support from the community, I feel overwhelmed. I wasn’t expecting that at all,” Erica said. “I’m amazed. Nasir loved and touched a lot of people.”

In the aftermath of Truitt’s passing, the family feels there needs to be something done about the gun violence in LaGrange.

“When will it stop is the question. I feel like they should get more cameras, have like a cop on duty or have a specific time the park will close,” Erica said.

A 15-year-old, Brandon Harrison Jr, has been arrested and charged with murder in Truitt’s death.

Truitt-Jordan said she feels there needs to be a larger community presence from police officers.

“I think it should be done in a sense the community knows them, and they’ll have a bit more respect for each other,” Truitt-Jordan said. “It’s not just the kids because we’ve got to get the parents involved more and have the parents be a bit more responsible when it comes to things like this. A kid with guns — it just makes no sense to me.”