BILLINGS — A Montana family was left in shock and forced to make sense of a senseless reality following the death of an infant in Billings just one day before his first birthday.
Thursday was supposed to be a day of celebration but it quickly turned to tragedy, following Wednesday's shooting on the 700 block of North 17th Street.
"You don’t think that those things would happen, but so much violence has happened lately," said Zack Wilson, the uncle of the infant, Tatee’k Morrison, on Thursday. "Gun violence here in Billings is getting a little scary."
The family had planned a birthday party but now must navigate not one, but two funerals.
"We had (the party) all set up and everything,” said 13-year-old Riley Wilson, Zack's son, on Thursday.
Tatee’k was killed Wednesday when at least one person opened fire on a home on the 700 block of North 17th Street. At least 25 shell casings were found outside of the home.
“(Tatee'k) was there visiting," Zack Wilson said. "That was not his home or anything like that."
In a Thursday afternoon press conference, Billings police said Tatee'k's father, 31-year-old Kenneth Morrison, was shot and then collapsed. He fell on Tatee’k, who was trapped until first responders could arrive. He was transported to a local hospital where he later died.
"It's just really messed up," Riley Wilson said. "With the baby there and everything."
The family was informed of the tragedy through social media.
“Yesterday we saw the news reports out first and then later on, we saw the reports and stuff from the news," Zack Wilson said.
While the family mourns the loss of two family members, they want to ensure Tatee’k is still celebrated.
"Today is his birthday. We just want to celebrate his life and wish him a happy birthday. And we love you,” said Zack Wilson. "Just know that we all love you and we miss you already."
They’re doing their best to move forward hoping justice will eventually be served for young Tatee’k.
"It was very tragic what happened. We just hope that justice does happen," Zack Wilson said. "We do know, the little bit, that his dad was trying to protect him. And that’s tough."
If you would like to send flowers, the family asks for them to be sent to Bullis Mortuary in Hardin, located at 507 North Center Avenue.