'He was going to do amazing things'

'He was going to do amazing things' »Play Video
Billy Ray Shirley III
TACOMA, Wash. -- Friends of a high school student shot to death over the weekend say they never expected the teen who volunteered his time to help other young people to meet such a violent end.

"He wanted to help kids not be in violent situations and to be able to express themselves differently," said Lori Elvrom, who taught Billy Ray Shirley III in English class at Curtis High School. "He was just more than a kid out causing trouble. It wasn't like that with Billy."

Elvrom spoke Sunday before nearly 100 classmates and other friends of Shirley gathered in his honor, one day after the 17 year old was killed at a party at a house in Tacoma.

"He had a lot of friends he lost to gun violence," Elvrom said. "He had to get out of that community and he had to make a change. He stumbled sometimes, but he didn't fall."

Shirley rode a bus, then walked for miles, commuting for hours at a time to volunteer at Peace Out, a program that helps teens raise and donate money to community causes.

"Every time I saw him, he asked, you know, 'what can I do to help? Are you guys volunteering this weekend? Where can I be, what can I do?'" said Michelle McLain, executive director of Peace Out. "He needed to be here longer so that he could mentor people and make a difference - more of a difference than he did."

Shirley was gunned down early Saturday morning when a fight broke out at a party at a home in the 1600 block of Center Street.

Police said there were about 100 people at the party, and a fight broke out when Shirley showed up to check on someone. Shots were fired, and Shirley was fatally wounded.

"It's our loss, for sure," Elvrom said. "It's our loss, because he was going to do amazing things. I know it."

Police have not made any arrests in the shooting.

"I hope whoever did this is brought to justice," Elvrom said.