Family, friends grieve after two teens killed near Hunter High School
WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah — In complete disbelief and anguish, a crowd gathered Thursday night where a shooting killed two teens and wounded another.
Some exchanged hugs as others wiped away tears. They stood facing a chain-link fence, where 15-year-old Paul Tahi and 14-year-old Tivani Lopati were shot and killed earlier in the day.
“They both were really good guys, we were close,” said a cousin of the two boys. “If you guys needed anything, they would be there for you. They’re really great.”
The grief hit as family, friends, classmates, teammates and coaches spent all day and evening on 4100 South near Mountain View Corridor, where Paul and Tivani died.
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The Granite School District identified 15-year old Ephraim Asiata as also being shot in the altercation, but he survived.
Hunter High School students and their coaches told KSL TV that Paul and Tivani were freshman football players with so much to look forward to.
The father of one said, he lost his only son.
The cousin of both said he’ll always remember what Paul and Tivani did for him.
“They would always say positive things, keep me up, keep me going,” he said. “Now that they’re gone, I don’t know what we’re going to do now without them.”
The community is grateful that Ephraim, a star sophomore football player, is alive.
The Asiata family and the Granite School district released a statement, saying:
“Principal Oaks recently spoke with the Asiata Family and they indicated that he remains in critical condition and the family would appreciate prayers in behalf of their son, nephew, and cousin.
“As a school and district community, we also ask that you keep the families of Paul Tahi and Tivani Lopati, in your hearts, thoughts and prayers and that we work to support them in any way we can.”
With so many students and families struggling to process what happened, the Granite School District said it will make grief counselors available at Hunter High and Hunter Jr. High on Friday.
The thoughts and prayers permeated in the spot where Paul and Tivani were shot, and so did the hurt and heartbreak for two boys with bright futures, now suddenly gone.
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