A 17-year-old boy was fatally shot late Sunday in South St. Paul and police have yet to announce any arrests.
Family members and friends on Monday identified him as Anthony Skelley.
"Anthony Skelley was a beautiful soul with a cheerful presence and a joyful spirit," his family and friends said in a statement. "Anthony filled us with big smiles, lots of love and pure happiness. He lifted up everyone he came in contact with."
Skelley was shot about 10:40 p.m. on the 1900 block of Conver Avenue, an area just east of the intersection of Hwy. 52 and Butler Avenue. Officers arrived and found him lying in the street with an apparent gunshot wound in the chest. Police and paramedics attempted life-saving measures, but Skelley died at the scene, South St. Paul Police Chief Brian Wicke said in a news release.
Police did not release any other details, but Wicke said the shooting did not appear to be random and that there is no danger to the public.
Skelley had attended Two Rivers High School — formerly Henry Sibley — in Mendota Heights as a freshman until COVID hit. He was most recently taking classes through Gateway to College at St. Paul College where he was a junior in the program that allows students to earn their high school diploma and college credits at the same time, said family friend Trina Zieman.
He wanted to start his own landscaping business and loved to work on cars. He was already buying and selling cars at 17, the family statement said.
Skelley was just 7 when his father died. From then on, he took on the role as the "man of the house," looking after his mother, Leah Burlingame, and his sister Andraya, with the "maturity of a grown man," the family's statement said.
"He took on the role proudly," the statement said. Because of his loss, "he had compassion for those who were hurting. He would not let someone suffer alone."
"We are devastated. We are broken," the family's statement said. "We are forever altered."
The family is asking for anybody with information to contact the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension at 1-877-996-6222 or firstname.lastname@example.org.