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Friends, family mourn McKinley High student killed just days before graduation

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BATON ROUGE - The family and friends of an 18-year-old high school student are still reeling after he was shot and killed Saturday.

"Today's Mother's Day, and a mom's dealing with the loss of her son," said Herman Brister, the principal at McKinley High School.

Brister had a personal relationship with student athlete Bryant Lee. The high school quarterback died Saturday at a local hospital after being shot at a graduation party.

"To get the call yesterday was like a family member had fallen, and it hurts," Brister said. "We are losing too many of our kids to gun violence."

Crime scene tape marks the spot on Sparrow Street where Lee was fatally shot early Saturday morning, but police currently have no motive or suspect.It was the second time the football player had been shot.

Reports say Lee was also an innocent bystander when he was shot in the leg six months ago.

Lee's teammate, Eric Johnson, was too emotional to discuss his friend's death. But he showed up at the high school to take a graduation photo shoot with a picture of Lee, who he called B5 for the number on his football jersey.

"When we have those student like Bryant Lee, real good to his classmates, kept a low profile, it hurts," Brister said.

Even though Lee made his mark on the football field at McKinley High, he didn't receive an athletic scholarship to Southern University. But his principal says Lee planned to continue his football career at the college by trying out as walk-on for the Southern Jaguars.

Brister says he's sure Lee would have made the team.

"I would always tell him to throw me a touchdown. He'd always smile and say I got you Mr. Brister, I got you," Brister recalled. "I was looking froward to saying that one more time on Wednesday, but I'll still say it looking up at him because I know he's proud of his class mates and proud of what he accomplished."

The senior was scheduled to graduate on Wednesday with a 3.5 grade point average. Grief counselors will be dispatched to the school Monday.

The school plans to give out Lee's diploma with the rest of his class at the graduation ceremony on Wednesday.

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