Teen's mother calls Zodiac Park shooting an 'ambush' - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Teen's mother calls Zodiac Park shooting an 'ambush'

(Source: Instagram) (Source: Instagram)
Christy Tello victim's mother (Source: WMC Action News 5) Christy Tello victim's mother (Source: WMC Action News 5)
MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) -

A person of interest has been questioned in the shooting at Zodiac Park that left a 16-year-old dead and several others injured, but Memphis Police Department has not yet filed any criminal charges.

Alana Tello would have celebrated her 17th birthday Thursday, but instead of holding birthday celebrations and blowing out candles on a cake, her family is planning her funeral.

"Happy Birthday Alana," Julia 'Lane' Jordan said. "I love you, and I know that you're going to be watching over us and I just want everybody to stay strong. Everybody that's going through this needs to stay strong."

Jordan was close to Tello and said the shooting is devastating to those who knew her.

"She was 16," Jordan said. "Straight murder it was...it was. It's devastating."

On Thursday, students gathered at Horn Lake High School to celebrate the birthday of one of their classmates, but it was a somber occasion.

The students released balloons in memory of their classmate and friend.

Their hearts are broken after 16-year-old Alana Tello was shot and killed because of a cellphone argument Tuesday.

"There was nothing bad to say about her. She was always a good person," Samantha Rieben said. "She was just so young. I just pray for her family."

Over 100 people attended the memorial, with some wearing tie dye shirts and hair buns in Tello's memory. 

"She was a great person and didn't deserve what happened to her," Katelyn Hughes said.

Tello's mother held on to her daughter's friends through tears in the middle of the overwhelming support. She said her daughter was a protector. She said she never would have thought something like this would happen. 

"I want my baby back," Tello's mother, Christy Tello, said. "She didn't deserve this. She was the one person who didn't deserve this. She was beautiful. She was an angel."

Alana's mother said despite what police said, the shooting did not happen because of a cellphone dispute. She said her daughter was protecting a friend. Now, the family wants answers and has an important message for others.

"There's no hurt you can ever feel that is as bad as this," Christy Tello said. "Two girls going to fight. Two girls that didn't even involve my daughter."

Christy Tello said the shooting that left five people injured and killed her daughter was an ambush. She said one of the gunmen came out of the woods.

"Alana got hit and they tried to get her up and tell her, we gotta go, we gotta go, but then she just fell and they held her," Christy said.

Now, she wants to encourage others to do something different.

"Don't fight. It gets you nowhere," she said.

Her friends said seeing the crowd come together for Tello is one bright light during a dark day.

"You'll be really proud to see how many people came," Rieben said.

Tello was one of six people injured in the shooting at Zodiac Park on Tuesday evening. Memphis Police Department said several people wearing bandanas shot Tello and the other victims. Tello died on the scene. The other five victims went to the hospital in critical condition, but three have since been downgraded to non-critical.

One friend couldn't believe Tello was gone and said she was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

"It was just a wrong situation," friend Lee Wooley said. "Wrong place, wrong time. Shouldn't have been here in the first place. Should have just went home."

"No matter what, her life will live on because all these people are here," Hughes said. "It's an amazing thing what a community can do when something terrible happens."

Friday morning, 17-year-old Marcus Malone was arrested and charged with second-degree murder in connection to Tello's death. Several other suspects are still on the run. Anyone with information about who they are and where they may be is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 901-528-CASH.

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