FORT LAWN -- Dekeem Reed was a typical 15-year-old who enjoyed hanging out with friends, playing sports and video games and surfing the Internet, family members said.
But that typical life ended late Saturday when Dekeem, a ninth-grader at Lancaster High School, was shot and killed during a party at the Fort Lawn Community Center on Main Street.
No arrests have been made, and police and family members still are trying to piece together what happened.
"He was the best son," said Ulysses Reed, Dekeem's father. "What happened shouldn't have happened."
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Police responded to a call at the center shortly before midnight, where a private birthday party was under way, Fort Lawn Police Chief Mike Revels said. Witnesses said several fights had happened, and they had heard gunshots, Revels said.
At the scene, police found Dekeem, who had been shot once in the chest. He was taken to Springs Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 12:20 a.m. Sunday, Chester County Coroner Terry Tinker said.
Sunday afternoon, about 30 people gathered at the home in Lancaster where Dekeem lived with his mother, Alice Blackmon-Tillman.
Dekeen's aunt, Geraldine Winifield, said the death of her nephew was a senseless crime.
"Why did they have to kill him? They took her only child," she said, referring to Blackmon-Tillman, who sat with a tear-stained face on a couch being consoled by friends.
"That was my baby," his mother said.
Guidance counselors will be available today at Lancaster High School to help students cope with Dekeem's death, principal Joseph Keenan said.
"You can't find any words to describe something like this," he said.
Keenan said he visited Dakeem's mother Sunday afternoon.
"I don't think this is the way the Lord meant it to be. The child should be burying the parent," he said.
Crawford Funeral Home in Lancaster is in charge of funeral arrangements.