Update: Morehouse College, one of about 100 “historically black colleges and universities” around the country, confirms that Tillet was a graduate. Read the college's full statement below. (This article has been edited to eliminate profanity at the request of the victim's close friends.)
Originally posted July 5 at 9:15 a.m.
A shooting in South L.A.'s Hyde Park neighborhood last night killed one young man and injured two others, police tell City News Service.
The shooter reportedly fired indiscriminately into a group of people celebrating the Fourth of July around 10:30 p.m. — taking the life of 25-year-old Dennis Herbert Tillet.
All throughout the morning, there has been an outpouring of love for Tillet on Twitter, as well as anger over who would do this to him.
A few hours after he was declared dead at a hospital, L.A. model Honey Gomez wrote: “We suppose to be celebrating independence day, and this happens. Im over this holiday.” And she later Tweeted to Tillet directly: “i love youu soo much. Im sorry my angel im sorry. We had so much fun with you tonight.”
A user named Brakeisha, who says she is the victim's sister (perhaps not literally), writes that the drive-by shooters are “cowards” who didn't earn any “stripes” by killing a sweet guy like Tillet.
According to the LAPD's Southwest Station, the shooting occurred at 48th Street and 2nd Avenue.
As of early this morning, City News was reporting that a motive for the attack had not been determined. We've contacted the LAPD for updates on the investigation.
Tillet's friends say on Twitter that he was Beyonce's No. 1 fan and a graduate of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. He may have also been an aspiring model.
“Dennis aint do [nothing] to anybody, but make you fall in love w| him and that smile,” wrote Brakeisha early this morning. “Swear he should've been the face for colgate.”
Did you know the victim, or witness the tragic Hyde Park shooting last night? Please share below.
I can't tell if they're popping fireworks or shooting guns in Hyde Park
— Insertghettonamehere (@iKEEdHisCar) July 5, 2012
Update: Darnell Holcomb, president of the Greater Los Angeles Morehouse Alumni Association, wrote us an email last night, thanking us “for bringing attention to the tragic events surrounding our Morehouse brother's death.” He provided us with this statement from the college:
“By all accounts, Dennis was an endearing young man. Never confrontational, always helpful, and a source of positive energy on campus and in the classroom is the motif when hearing about Dennis from his peers. There has been a heartfelt outcry of sadness / mourning for Dennis and his family from across the country. We in the Greater Los Angeles Morehouse Alumni Association, share the shock that such a kind spirit would be taken from us in a violent and unnecessary manner. We extend our sincerest condolences to Dennis' family and friends and expect that this incident will be investigated with the full resources local law enforcement has at their disposal.”
UP NEXT: Tillet's friends and family remember him as “a sweet and amazing person” who “brought a smile to your face no matter how you felt.”
An LA Weekly commenter by the name of “YahMeanAh” writes that Tillet was “one of the nicest guys that you could ever come across. He brought a smile to your face no matter how you felt, because that was the kind of person he was. He was very intelligent and an all around stand-up guy…. He had so much living to do, so many things to accomplish. He was a bright light in some of the darkest days!!”
We have reached out to the victim's loved ones for more information on his life and death. Until we can speak with them in person or over the phone, here are some of the tributes that Tillet's friends and family have shared on Twitter. R.I.P.
RIP to @dennthemen he was true gentleman and a scholar. ERAC colleague, Morehouse Alum, HBCU grad. Prayers & condolences to his fam.
— LeAndrew Smith II (@LEANDREW11) July 5, 2012
man I'm straight in tears.. I can't believe this @DennTheMen u was such a sweet and amazing person. Truly an angel gone home too soon
— Clarence Jones (@WONDERFULCECE) July 5, 2012
R.I.P. 2 @dennthemen. A MOREHOUSE GRAD. Just celebrating the 4th like the rest of us & but loses his life 2 senseless acts of a coward.
— MrJamelleJones (@jamjones25) July 5, 2012
Dennis has called me “dance partner” since sophomore year from the Mr. AKA Pageant. He was the sweetest. RIP
— iglesia(@Sm00thJaz) July 5, 2012
RIP Dennis!!! You'll forever be loved & missed. One of the sweetest people I've ever metinstagr.am/p/MtdrIbKb2o/
— Raquel(@ilyQUELz) July 5, 2012