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‘It was like my son was used as someone’s target board;’ Mother of man killed after tripping on BBQ pit searching for answers

Posted at 11:46 AM, Jul 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-12 13:46:51-04

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    St. Louis County, MO (KMOV ) — Tasha Boykins felt almost immediately her son was gone.

“I was very nervous and praying to god my son was still here,” she said, remembering when she heard her oldest child had been shot.

But Larry Neal Jr. was killed July 7 by a man when he tripped over a BBQ pit at the Paddock Apartments on Chesapeake Drive.

“Eleven times, it’s just… it is heartbreaking,” Boykins said. “It was like my son was used as someone’s target board like someone was at a gun range.”

According to police, Neal Jr., 31, was walking in an apartment breezeway when he tripped on a barbecue and fell into Thomas Clement’s apartment door around 12:20 a.m. Sunday. After Neal walked away and headed up the stairway, Clement allegedly came to the apartment door with a gun in his hand. Clement then reportedly yelled at Neal and showed the gun.

Police said Neal then turned to go back downstairs and when he reached the stairwell’s landing, Clement fired at him eleven times.

Neal Jr. was unarmed.

Four days after Neal Jr. was killed, Boykins feels a hole in her family getting bigger and bigger.

“His smile, his voice, his presence. [He’ll never] be around again,” she said. “I love barbecuing and I don’t even know how to feel when bbqing hearing the fact that my son died over a barbecue pit.”

Activist Coffee Wright is helping Boykins cope with the loss.

“I fight for the people. I fight justice, the missing, the homeless, prison reform, seniors and the disabled,” Wright explained.

But she blames this violence on one major issue.

“I am black. I have white people in my family. But, when the deal goes down, we are killing each other more than the police are killing us. White people aren’t coming down in to my community, breaking into my house and killing me. It’s our own people,” she said.

Boykins is working on a scheduling a funeral for her son a week from Saturday.

She needs help and has set up a GoFundMe account.

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