A community is in mourning after a mother and two of her children were killed in a shooting in West Asheville.
Investigators say they received a call around 10:30 p.m. on Wednesday night about the shooting at 73 Hansel Avenue.
We’re told Maurice Garner shot and killed Erica Smith, her 13-year-old daughter Harmony Smith and her 15-year-old son Keithan Whitmire Jr. Three of Smith’s other children we’re injured in the shooting.
Officer’s later found Garner, the mother‘s boyfriend, nearby in a vehicle with a gunshot would to his head. He later died.
Now some of the people closest to the family are trying pick up the pieces.
“[Keithan] was like family,” said Keithan‘s boss, the president of Wholesale Glass and Mirror Company Jeffrey Boyle. “Like a son.”
Boyle said Keithan had been working at his glass shop for about a year and a half.
“He came into work everyday after school and he became family,” Boyle said.
Boyle doesn’t use the term “family” loosely. He currently dates Erica Smith’s twin sister. He said since they’ve been together, he has become close with Keithan.
“It’s tough,” said Boyle. “It’s tough on the whole family. What’s going to happen and how do we move on from this.”
“Keithan was our company mascot here,” said Boyle’s sister and Vice President of Wholesale Glass and Mirror Company Cindy Putnam. “He was a wonderful person and a wonderful child.”
Putnam said Boyle took Keithan under his wing.
“You would ask him to do something and he would do it and say ‘Yes, ma’am,'” Putnam said. “He would just do it, and do it to the best of his ability without any argument or complaints.”
Boyle said the family is tight knit and the will stick together to help the kids make it through this tough time.
“Everybody will pitch in, and it will all come together,” said Boyle. “It will be tough, but it will all come together.”
If you would like to help the family, Eblen Charities has set up the Erica Smith Family Memorial Fund to assist her children and family affected by the shooting. The fund will be used to help the family pay for funeral costs and other ne during the aftermath.