Man Charged With Murder of TikTok Star Ophelia Nichols’ Son Randon Lee
Randon Lee was gunned down in June. His mother, who is a TikTok star, issued a plea to her followers for help in finding his killer.
A 20-year-old Alabama man has been charged with the murder of Randon Lee, the son of TikTok star Ophelia Nichols, authorities said.
Reuben Gulley has been charged with murder after turning himself into authorities at the Mobile County Jail, where he is being held without bail, according to online records.
Nichols, who goes by "Mama Tot" and has more than eight million followers on her "@shoelover99" account, posted video Friday sharing news of the arrest.
“I’m getting 100 messages saying ‘You must be so happy right now’ and I am not,” she said into the camera. “I am not happy. When situations like this happen or other traumatic situations, I look at everything. I don’t just look at this and this and make a decision or an opinion. I look at everything.”
Her 18-year-old son was gunned down in June at a gas station, where he went to allegedly sell marijuana to at least two people in a car, police said.
The mother acknowledged she learned from authorities investigating the shooting that her son had been dealing pot.
“When your children live out on their own and pay their own bills and they have a good job, it just don’t cross your mind that they would be doing anything to get themselves into trouble,” Nichols posted on her TikTok account after Lee was killed the day before his 19th birthday.
“But we’ve been told that the detectives think that marijuana was being dealt. My son was meeting there, and either they tried to rob him or they did rob him, but he was shot," she said at the time.
She had also beseeched her followers to come forward with information about her son's killing.
“Somebody’s gotta know something,” the grieving mother said through tears. "This individual took my son’s life. He was just 18 years old. That’s part of somebody’s life. And I know they’re out there, in my town. They’re out there,” she added.
On Friday, after seeing Gulley's mugshot, the mother posted that her immediate thought was, "My goodness, he’s just a baby.
“And then the same comments from his teachers that said, ‘I taught him in high school. He was a lovely young man,’” she said. “Yeah, I bet he was. That just made me think within 11 seconds, he made the decision to just throw his life away.”
Nichols is a beloved influencer on social media, dispensing homespun southern advice to her followers.
She encouraged her followers to not judge Gulley's family, or to blame them for what happened to her son.
“So remember this — there’s now two families that are that are hurt,” she said. “And those parents shouldn’t suffer for something that their child did. Just as well as I shouldn’t suffer for anything that my children have done," she said.
The mother noted that she had been publicly criticized after news broke that her son had been selling marijuana. She said on Friday that she hoped Gulley's mother would be spared that humiliation.
“And then I thought last night Lord, I hope she don’t go through that because I don’t wish that on anybody,” Nichols added. “That was really hard for me. Neither one of our children should have been there that night.”
The shooting remains under investigation, authorities said.
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