TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – A local family is grieving as they try to figure out why their son, brother and friend was murdered just days before his graduation.
Eighteen-year-old Joheem Meredith was set to graduate from Topeka West High School, but was shot and murdered by a gunman Tuesday night at the White Lakes Apartments near SW 37th and Topeka Boulevard.
Topeka Police said Meredith’s death is currently being investigated as a homicide, and as an isolated incident. A spokesperson said they are actively investigating leads.
His mother, Lavonne Meredith, said she moved her family to Topeka for better opportunities.
“They’re just good kids that want to graduate,” Meredith said. “So I’m just trying to understand why would somebody do this to me.”
Joheem’s close knit group of friends attested to his character. Joheem was the homecoming king, an athlete, and a reliable friend, always going above and beyond for others.
“He learned a whole different language in two months just so he could talk to his girlfriend’s parents,” Jacob Raines said, his friend his kindergarten. “Nobody does that.”
Now they will have to walk for graduation, virtual or not, without hearing their friend’s name.
“It won’t feel the same without him being there, not hearing his name,” Dre Durall said, friend and teammate, adding how excited he would have been to celebrate this life event. “He was the most happy kid I’ve ever seen in my life. He could take a bad day and make it sunny.”
His friend Dayvian Meyer describing Joheem as versatile.
“He was always hungry for more,” Meyer said. “He was never satisfied, if we was doing good he wanted to do better. If he had something, he wanted something else to have the same thing.”
Of all the things they remember Joheem for, like being kind, entertaining, popular and generous, he was something special.
“Definitely life changing,” Camren Cook said. “Joheem changed my life and he changed the lives of the whole Topeka community.”
If you would like to donate to Joheem’s funeral funds, you can click here.