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Mother of Springfield man shot by DEA says her son’s death was “unnecessary”

Published: Nov. 4, 2020 at 9:45 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - We now know more about the Springfield man who was killed by federal agents earlier this week, after speaking to his mother. On Monday, 25-year-old Caleb Slay died in his front yard after a shooting involving the Drug Enforcement Administration. Police initially called him a “suspect," but his mother disagrees.

“My son was in his front yard minding his own business," said Tina Slay Richardson. "This didn’t have to happen.”

Richardson now sits where her son Caleb Slay took his last breath Monday night.

“His pool of blood was a perfect heart on the ground. An absolute perfect heart, you couldn’t have drawn it any better," she said.

The family covered it up with dirt, while their own hearts were breaking, in hopes of keeping it safe as long as they can.

“My son Caleb is the most kind and generous person you will ever meet," Richardson said. "He loved to make you laugh, he loved to be the shoulder for you to cry on.”

Richardson said Caleb played varsity football at Kickapoo High School and was a cheerleader at Missouri State University. She said he worked security at Zan nightclub for seven years and, at one point, considered becoming a police officer.

“Caleb was not a criminal. He was a law abiding citizen," she said.

She said what police say happened Monday tells a different story. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, special agents were “conducting surveillance” near the 1800 block of S. Maryland, near Mercy Hospital. They approached an individual who they believed was committing a crime. During the conversation between the agents and that person, the DEA said a second person, later identified as Caleb Slay, approached the agents. They said a fight started and Caleb was shot.

"What I want people to understand is, he is a victim. He is not a suspect,” Richardson said.

Richardson said she knows the truth and is prepared to fight for justice. The family has hired attorneys, who focus on personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits.

“I would love to tell everybody what really happened. I would love to tell you the details, but in order to get justice for Caleb, I cannot tell anything," she said.

Until that day comes, this mother’s message to her son is simple.

“I will be your voice. We got you. Go rest. It’s okay," Richardson said.

Instead of a funeral service, Caleb’s family will have a vigil at the Kickapoo High School football field on Saturday, Nov. 7 at 5:30 p.m.

Richardson said the shocking situation Monday became even more traumatic when police released Caleb’s name earlier than she said they promised. She said she did not have time to notify her entire family. She said she’d like to see a requirement for law enforcement to wait 24 hours after a crime before releasing a victim’s name.

Springfield police are investigating the shooting. As of Wednesday afternoon, there are no new updates. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Springfield Police Department at 417-864-1810 or make an anonymous call to Crime Stoppers at 417-869-TIPS (8477).

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