Vigil honors killed Shelby County firefighter - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Vigil honors killed Shelby County firefighter

Shelby County Firefighter Ryon McCray (Source: Facebook/SCFD) Shelby County Firefighter Ryon McCray (Source: Facebook/SCFD)
(Source: Viewer) (Source: Viewer)
MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) -

Shelby County Fire Department identified the off-duty firefighter killed in a one-car crash on Walnut Grove Road near Houston Levee Road.

Shelby County Sheriff’s Office Spokesperson Earl Farrell said the crash happened around 6:30 a.m. Sunday.

SCFD identified the victim as Firefighter Ryon McCray, 26. McCray joined the department in 2013. He was assigned to Fire Engine Company No. 64 as a Firefighter/A.E.M.T, according to SCFD.

SCFD released the following statement:

"It is with profound sadness that Shelby County Fire Chief Alvin D. Benson and the Administrative Staff of the Shelby County Fire Department impart the news of the death of one of our Fire Fighters."

Those who knew McCray were devastated by the news.

"For someone so great to die so soon is something that no one was prepared for,” Jessica Niter said.

Niter got the news via text message. She said McCray was her friend and classmate.

"He's always been a down-to-Earth, humble person that cares about everyone around, and just loved putting smiles on people's faces,” Julian Boyd said.

Pictures on social media show McCray playing with children. He even left comments like, “I think I had more fun than they did.” Friends said he was someone who wasn’t afraid to go out of his way to make someone’s life a little better.

"He told me he always wanted to make a difference,” Niter said.

Others said he was loved by everyone that crossed his path. A post on social media lists McCray’s final request for his funeral as being ”...to have the procession pass by his high school while playing Yo Gotti’s 'That’s Whassup.'”

Classmates are already making this request happen.

"I was listening to that song earlier today, and I'll probably be listening to this song every day this week,” Boyd said. “Definitely a great way to honor his memory.

“He wants you to laugh; he doesn't want you to mourn,” Niter said.

Dozens of people gathered at White Station High School on Sunday night to remember McCray’s life. They lit candles to spell out “Ray-D-yo,” one of his nicknames.

“Lord, we love you Ray-D-yo. You was crazy, you was the best. We love you and thank you lord for blessing us to see another day. Amen.”

They remembered Ryon with tears streaming down their faces.

“We've got to keep part of him with us, because honestly, he was the nicest person I ever met, Juliann Hamilton said.

Chris Douglass was his teammate on the UT-Martin football team. He said Ryon would wear the same thing.

"’Bro do you own one outfit?’” Douglass recalled. “And he was like, ‘No bro, but I got nine pairs of hooper shorts and wash them every week,’” Douglass recalled.

Friends and family held their candles up high to say goodbye to a friend, forever holding onto their memories.

“We will truly miss him, and we love you, and we are blessed to ever have had you in our lives.”

Meanwhile, headlights, glass, and twisted metal parts were left on the side of the road where officials said McCray swerved, possibly to avoid a deer.

“They're dangerous crossing the road. I hate that man lost his life,” Denise Krag said.

Krag travels the road frequently and she has seen deer on the road before.

“It's really, really bad, and I swerve a lot for them. I see wrecks; I see a lot of that,” Krag said.

On the narrow two-lane road, where McCray lost his life, there is often nowhere to go if you swerve to avoid something in the road.

“You don't have anywhere to go except hit another car or dodge into the field,” Krag said.

D’aiyana Scott said a split second is all it takes.

“One comes out, what are we supposed to do?” Scott asked. “You're going 40 miles per hour. It's either the deer's life or yours.”

Drivers hope this crash could help change things.

“Deer sign, warning, crossing, or even help with the sides of the roads,” Krag said. “So people have somewhere to go when you do swerve.”

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