Last updated: 2 months ago
For more than a week, WHNT News 19 has been aggressively working to learn more information about a more than 30 mile car chase that ended with an officer involved shooting and a death of a teenager.
We've now been able to confirm the young man's name, who was shot and killed.
Gabriel's aunt, Marlene Woodrum says his life took a tragic turn a year ago, when his mother passed away. Other family members refused to take him in and he was placed into state custody. All of these events ultimately lead up to a deadly encounter with police, while he was inside a stolen vehicle.
Police say the driver put the life of a Priceville Officer in danger during the chase, causing that officer to fatally shoot the teen.
Investigators have provided very little information about the events around the chase, including the name of the officer who opened fire.
The name of the teen was never officially released, but his family members reached out to us in an effort to share with the world what kind of young man Gabriel was.
"He had a great personality. He was funny, he liked telling jokes on ya and loved to laugh," recalled Woodrum. 'He loved to try to figure out how to build stuff and take things apart and put it back together."
After Gabriel's mother passed away last year, he was sent to a foster home. Woodrum says, Gabriel's siblings all went to live with a step-parent but not the 15-year-old.
"Him and his stepfather did not get along at all, after his mother passed, he did not want to live with him," says Woodrum.
In an effort to learn more about Gabriel, we exhausted all resources online. We couldn't find pictures or missing children reports.
The only match to his name, lead us to a missing child poster of Alyssa Lafeww, originally reported missing out of McMinn County, TN, near Madisonville, and last seen with Gabriel.
Over the phone, Alyssa's mother, Carrie, tells WHNT News 19 her daughter and Gabriel were romantically involved. She said they ran away together back in May, and were ultimately found in Texas a week later.
Gabriel was returned to his foster home, but was reported missing again just a few weeks later.
"I still can't believe it, it's just a shock to our family. I still don't see them doing this," says Woodrum.
Gabriel's aunt Marlene is now desperate for answers.
"Why'd he get shot? Why'd they shoot him? They didn't have to shoot him," she said. "I think he was just scared and trying to get away, I don't think he tried to intentionally hurt that officer. I just don`t see him doing that."
Alyssa's mother says Gabriel was first reported missing in January, and remained on the run until her daughter was found in May.
The Monroe County Sheriff's Office in Tennessee confirms that January disappearance date.
We tried reaching out to the Tennessee Department of Children's Services but legally they cannot comment due to confidentiality laws.