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'He motivated people to be bigger,' sister says at vigil for 30-year-old Lincoln man shot in South Omaha parking lot
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'He motivated people to be bigger,' sister says at vigil for 30-year-old Lincoln man shot in South Omaha parking lot

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Friends and family gather to remember Kiaris "Keyz" Avant

Friends and family gathered in South Omaha on Tuesday evening to remember 30-year-old Kiaris "Keyz" Avant, who was fatally shot in this parking lot at the Afoma Corner Store.

At the end of the night, the sobs of Kiaris “Keyz” Avant’s mother said it all.

Her 30-year-old son would not be walking through the door in search of a hug. He’d not be checking in to see how her day went.

Kiaris Avant

Kiaris Avant

Avant was killed Saturday evening as he sat in a car near the South Omaha public housing complex where he’d grown up. He was shot in the head in what police say was a targeted shooting.

His family says that the shooting was a case of mistaken identity and that Avant was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

On Tuesday evening, more than 50 people gathered in the parking lot where Avant was killed for a prayer vigil organized by the First Responders, a local ministerial group.

The Rev. Bruce Williams asked those gathered at the Afoma Corner Store, 5522 S. 30th St., to surround Avant’s mother with prayer and love.

“Let her know that her pain is our pain, her loss is our loss,” Williams said.

Avant was a father of two and sibling to five brothers and sisters.

His sister, Shy, said her brother was a loving and generous person and a talented rap musician whose music spoke about his experiences.

“We all grew up the same way,” she said, motioning to the Southside Terrace apartments across the street from the convenience store. “He motivated people to be bigger than where we came from … I felt like he was going to be someone to make it, and they took that away from him.”

She and her brother Donald said the large crowd gathered at the vigil showed that their brother was loved.

“Everybody here is not blood (relations) to him, but they are still family to him,” she said.

Avant had moved to Lincoln and was working in construction there, she said.

Friends said Avant was the kind of person who made sure you didn’t go hungry or in need, but also “told you the truth about yourself whether you wanted to hear it or not.” 

Omaha Crime Stoppers is offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the shooting. Anyone with information can call Omaha Crime Stoppers at 402-444-STOP, visit www.omahacrimestoppers.org or place a tip on the P3 Tips mobile app.

Family members have set up a gofundme account for services for Avant.

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