Soldiers who served with a young Army veteran whose life was tragically cut short are working to ensure his legacy and purpose lives on, creating a fund to provide for his beloved little sister’s education.
Tyler Lewis Lackey, 24, was at an ATM in New Mexico after having dinner with a friend when he was shot to death around 10 p.m. Friday.
He was rushed to a nearby hospital with a gunshot wound to the chest, but he could not be saved.
Lackey had returned home only months earlier, being honorably discharged as a Sergeant after serving his country for five and a half years.
While the young man planned to pursue a career in medical care, which he had excelled at in the armed forces, a large factor in deciding to return to civilian life was his little sister, the men and women who served with him said.
“Tyler’s love and dedication to his family was well-known to his team members and friends, especially when it came to his little sister, Allie,” members of the 67th Army Forward Surgical Team (ABN) wrote on fundraising site GoFundMe.
“He tutored her. He ensured she was learning everything possible so that she would have opportunities in life. His ambition was that she would go to college someday,” the group wrote.
Those who knew Lackey created the page to ensure “his wish will not go unheeded,” they wrote, hoping to honor the youngest member of their 20-person team comprised of surgeons, nurses and medics.
“What SGT Lackey lacked in age, he made up with enthusiasm, energy and courage,” the page notes, recalling a dedicated and positive young man who wanted to take on as much as possible.
“While others in his cohort in the US used their new "legal" status to party on their 21st birthday, Tyler spend his at FOB (Forward Operating Base) Todd, (in) BMG, Afghanistan. Never one to complain, his infectious enthusiasm was a bright spot in an otherwise long and tedious deployment.
“He was a sponge when it came to learning. He would move effortlessly between the trauma bay, ICU and OR. But what came naturally to Tyler was empathy and integrity; something that he demonstrated to us on a daily basis,” they continued.
The fund had earned about $2,300 of its $10,000 goal by Tuesday.
To donate to the fund, visit their GoFundMe page by clicking here.
Lackey’s family was touched by the gesture, agreeing that the goals set forth by those who served with him were the same as his own.
“This is one of the reasons he decided to get out of the army, to help our sister who was struggling in school. He put her into a Catholic school here in Albuquerque to help her get a little more attention from teachers,” Scott Lackey, Tyler’s brother, told INSIDE EDITION.
He and other loved ones continued to appeal for those who might know who was responsible for Lackey’s death to come forward, as detectives continued to search for the young man’s killer.
"Someone, please, I know you've seen this car," Scotty Lackey wrote on Facebook Monday, sharing the photos that police had released. “He shot and killed my brother, and he's walking around free. The woman was seen with him. Please find this car, share this picture around until he is found."
Investigators released images of red-and-white vehicle, which they believe is connected to the shooting suspect, described as a slim Hispanic man with slight facial hair.
He was last seen wearing a red and black running suit. They also released an image of a woman who was seen with the suspect that is wanted for questioning.
Those with information about the shooting are asked to call 505-242-COPS.