Family wants answers after teen battling cancer dies suddenly — in a shooting

Daemon Link (submitted photo)
Family wants answers in teen's death
1 killed in a shooting on southwest side
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INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — The family of a teen shot and killed outside a south side convenience store wants to know what happened.

Daemon Link's loved ones were already bracing for losing him after a deadly diagnosis. Now, they tell Eyewitness News what they do know about the shooting so far just doesn't add up.

The shooting happened around 4 p.m. Monday on the side of the Mann Road Pantry on Indy's south side. As Link's family prepares for his funeral, they are hoping for more answers to their questions about what really happened moments before the cancer patient ended up dead.

Clara Tucker is Link's aunt, who is one of the people serving as a spokesperson for the family. She was at the scene for a while until investigators gave them information about the incident.

"The tattoo that was on his arm, that's how we knew," said Tucker, holding back more tears.

Tucker got a call from her sister, who is Link's mother, telling her to get to the store as soon as possible. Tucker believes that God and her faith helped keep her calm while driving. She could tell in her sister's voice the news was not going to be good when she arrived at the location.

The 18-year-old North Central High School graduate did not survive the gunshot wounds. An IMPD officer told the family the shooting happened during an online transaction outside the south side store.

During the interview with Eyewitness News, the family did not know what type of transaction Link would have been conducting, especially so far away from home. A person of interest is reportedly cooperating with investigators, according to IMPD. Police did not provide details on the people involved but described them as young adults.

Link's family is still in the dark about the moments before his death.

"The story the assailant gave did not make sense," said Tucker.

Tiera Willis is Link's oldest sister. The story isn't making much sense to her, either. She described her brother as 5' 5", 130 pounds and by no means threatening in size. She said their families had only lived in Indianapolis for a couple of years. She wants to know why anyone would want to hurt her brother.

After graduating high school earlier this year, he had planned to start a job the same week of his unexpected death.

"There is still a lot of gaps in the story. There are still things that don't make sense coming from the other party so we are just hoping and praying that the truth comes out eventually," Willis said.

Doctors diagnosed Link with cancer two years ago. He had surgery after his initial diagnosis on his ankle. The cancer eventually spread, so he began chemotherapy treatment recently after a clinical trial treatment failed to improve his condition. Despite a doubtful prognosis, Link had proven to be a fighter.

Knowing he was in a battle for his life with cancer, no one in his family ever expected him to die to gun violence.

With medical bills mounting from the cancer treatment, the family has started a GoFundMe account for funeral expenses.

Tucker shared appreciation to family, friends and even strangers who have donated already.

"We are so thankful to people who are willing to help ease the financial burden that has hit us so suddenly," she said. "We knew that we had limited time with him. We knew that and we came to accept that. Now, in a split second he is gone when those last days we could have loved him, just loved him."

"Daemon just became that happy-go-lucky person again with that incredible smile that everybody loved," said Willis. "He won't get to experience life at all now. Not even a little."

Link's family said he had been happiest the most in the past couple of months, despite that ongoing cancer battle.

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