‘He made me proud’: Family of fatal Kinston shooting victim speaks out

The family of a 17-year-old father who was shot and killed in Kinston is speaking out for the first time.
Published: Jul. 26, 2022 at 2:46 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

KINSTON, N.C. (WITN) - The family of a 17-year-old father who was shot and killed in Kinston is speaking out for the first time.

Family members of Isaiah Taylor tell WITN that on Monday morning he was shot and killed on Hyman Avenue, just a few blocks away from his grandmother’s home.

Brenda Simmons says her grandson was a man of God, stayed out of trouble, and had a bright future ahead of him.

“I can say that I am proud of that young man,” Simmons says. “He was a wonderful young man, you couldn’t have asked for a better child.”

Simmons adds that her grandson was a rising junior and a straight-A student at Kinston High School.

Taylor was also the father of a 3-year-old boy, and leaves behind his own dad — who thought the world of him.

“He did a whole 360. He was hard-headed coming up. The last couple years, the past three years, he changed a lot, a whole lot,” Reginald Dublin, Isaiah Taylor’s father said.

Kinston police charged Ervin Waters Jr. with the murder of Taylor on Monday evening as well as an attempted first-degree murder on Adkins Street that left bullet holes in a car. Samuel Roberts was also charged with aiding and abetting in both shootings.

Tuesday afternoon, Waters was also charged with the murder of John Palmer, 28, which happened on Airport Road about an hour before Taylor was killed.

Police say Calvin Suggs, like Roberts, has been charged with aiding and abetting in both shootings.

Simmons says their family didn’t know these men and that Taylor stayed out of trouble. She hopes other young men stay out of trouble too.

“This should be a good example to other young men his age or a little older than him walking around here doing nothing. Make something out of yourself,” Simmons urges. “Do what he did. Follow his direction. He was going in a good direction.”

As their family continues to grieve Taylor’s passing, because he was a man of faith, they know he’s in a better place.

“We know that in our heart, he was one of the good guys. He was one of the good boys and I would do it all over again because I raised him since he was a baby,” Simmons says.

Simmons tells WITN that before his life was cut short, her grandson was planning to finish high school, continue working, and then head off to college.

Funeral arrangements for Taylor have not yet been announced.

Do you see something needing a correction? Email us!

Copyright 2022 WITN. All rights reserved.