Remembering Jalen: Teen basketball star died defending sister

Jalen Merriweather, Holt High School basketball star (Courtesy of family)

The search continued for Donald Robertson, 48, after authorities said he fatally shot Holt High School Basketball Star Jalen Merriweather, 18. Robertson should be considered armed and dangerous.

Athletic, playful and loving are the words the victim's girlfriend, Brianna Horton, used to describe Merriweather.

"He was just sweet. He wanted everybody in this town to make it," Horton said, "He was just focused on basketball and his education. All he did was joke, laugh...he did nothing wrong."

Merriweather was shot and killed over the weekend, defending his older sister as investigators said her ex-boyfriend pistol-whipped her.

"He was a good kid, had a lot going for him," Tuscaloosa Metro Homicide Captain Kip Hart said, "He was doing the right thing...trying to protect his sister. I think any brother would do that."

Merriweather's friend Malcolm Brock took to Facebook, sharing a nearly hour-long video, calling for the violence within the community to end.

"It's really hurtful and it's a wake-up call we all need to understand," Brock said, "There are many ways to live your life. You can take the right route, or end up somewhere you don't want to be."

Horton said she'll never understand why this tragedy happened, but said she's keeping her chin up.

"I'm okay. I'm just going to take it one day at a time, because he wouldn't want me to be sad. So I just have to think about that."

A balloon release in Merriweather's honor is planned for Tuesday night at 6:00 p.m. at Holt High School.

Authorities believe someone may be helping Robertson hide. Anyone who has information that can lead to an arrest should call Crimestoppers and could be eligible for a cash reward.

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