‘It wasn’t supposed to end this way for them’: City Life continues to mourn for the victims of gas station shooting

Local News

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Community-based ministry, City life is in mourning over the triple shooting that left two teenagers dead and one hospitalized.

On Wednesday, 19-year old Anderson Retic, who is known by his family and friends as Andy, and 19-year Joshua Cole Cooper were both fatally shot. Jaylin Rice, 20, suffered life-threatening injuries but is improving and expected to live.

“It wasn’t supposed to end this way for them,” said Nygel Simms, YFC National City Life Lead. “I just hope some how God can turn this around for His glory.”

Photo Courtesy: Nygel Simms
Photo Courtesy: Nygel Simms

Simms told WANE 15’s Briana Brownlee that City Life had a vision that these young men would take not only Fort Wayne but also the nation to a different level. “But some reason, the evil act robbed us of this.”

Retic and Rice were part of City Life youth ministries since they were in high school. And even after graduating they still stopped by the center and were active.

Simms said that he speaks with Rice at least twice a week. However on that Wednesday, he had a missed call.

“He text me like ‘bro hit me up this evening,’ I was expecting to call him later that night,” Simms said. “But actually I got a call from our City Life director, Reggie Blackmon, who called me and informed me about this horrible thing that happened that night.”

Photo Courtesy : Amy Binkley

According to members of City Life, Retic and Rice were at a crossroads and trying to figure out what they wanted in life. They were described as young men who had a diverse group of friends and judged people off the content of their character.

Photo Courtesy: Amy Binkley

“When I think about Andy, Jaylin and Josh, I think about three young men I recently had conversations with about how they were striving to better their environment, to better themselves as young men,” Blackmon said. “Who have been a part of City Life for multiple years and even having just recently graduated, still wanting to be a part in some way. Enjoying playing basketball with them and being able to be a big brother and [an] inspiration as much as possible, but they also inspired me.”

Blackmon added that he still mourns the loss of Retic and Cooper, his young brothers, but continues to be encouraged that Rice is still holding up his fight for life.

Urban Ministries Regional Director for City Life, Amy Binkley said that Retic’s smile and name was the first thing she noticed about him. She said City Life tries to create a culture of family.

“If we love them that deeply, my heart grieves for how much I know their families are just wrestling with this loss,” Binkley said. “Jaylin and Anderson were young men that were trying to figure out life. These boys are my City Life sons.”

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