BILLINGS — The Yellowstone County Sheriff's Office said Monday 15-year-old Khoen Parker was the victim of a homicide Sunday morning near Castle Rock Park in the Billings Heights.
Parker, a sophomore at Billings Senior High School, was shot in a parking lot on the southern border of the park, according to the Billings Police Department. He was then taken to a hospital by an unknown person in an unknown vehicle, where he was pronounced dead a short time later.
Neighbors said the parking lot had become a popular late-night gathering spot. BPD officers responded to calls about the shooting at around 2 a.m. on Sunday. They did not find any witnesses but did find numerous shell casings in the area. BPD detectives have not announced any details on the investigation at this point - nor about a specific suspect or if they are looking for more than one person.
Parker’s family spent much of Monday making arrangements with a funeral home after a shocking 24 hours.
"He was the sweetest, most caring guy in the world," said Jen Parker, Khoen's mother. "He was the most perfect son. He loved his mama more than everything. He said that to me 1,000 times a day - 'I love you more than everything.'"
"He was quick-witted, sweet and so funny. He was born 10 weeks early, arriving in this world at just four pounds, two ounces. From the day he was born, he was a fighter. He's my best friend, and the only thing he did was love and respect every friend and family member. He was so positive, and he motivated all of his friends and family to do good and be good."
"I was so blessed to have been his mother."
Colin Mauser was one of Parker's best friends after meeting in elementary school.
“We loved basketball. We loved being outdoors," Mauser said. "He was just really outgoing and funny and kind. He cared about a lot of people. He cared for people, made sure people were okay before him.”
Mauser said Parker had some friends in the Heights, but didn’t normally hang out on that side of town. Nevertheless, he said the news of Parker’s death came as a complete shock.
“I was like, ‘No. That couldn’t happen to Khoen,'" Mauser said. "Khoen’s like the sweetest kid you could meet. I just couldn’t believe it.”
School District 2 will have a crisis team available at Senior High School starting Tuesday for any students who need help dealing with Parker’s death.
Parker's grandparents have started a GoFundMe to help cover medical and funeral costs. Click here if you would like to donate.