MOBILE, Ala. — An Alabama TikTok star with nearly 7 million followers was grieving Saturday after she said her son was killed the night before his 19th birthday.
Ophelia Nichols, who runs the TikTok account “shoelover99,” went on TikTok and Facebook to announce the death of her son, Randon Lee, 18, WKRG-TV reported. Nichols said her son was killed in Prichard, a suburb of Mobile, WALA-TV reported.
“I have this hatred in my heart that I don’t recognize,” Nichols, who is also known as “Mama Tot,” said in a TikTok post on Saturday. “Because I’ve never felt hate for anybody.
“This individual took my son’s life. He was just 18 years old, that’s the best part of somebody’s life. And I know they’re out there. In my town.”
The only shooting death in the Mobile area on Friday night was reported at a gas station in Prichard at around 8 p.m. CDT, WALA reported. Investigators have not released the name of the victim but confirmed it was an 18-year-old male who was killed the night before his birthday, according to the television station.
The Prichard Police Department said the case is still under investigation and cannot provide any further details, according to WKRG.
According to Nichols, investigators told her that her son was shot in the shoulder at a gas station in Prichard, according to the television station. Lee was able to drive himself to an Energize gas station across the street, where he was later found dead.
On her LinkedIn page, Nichols describes herself as a “social media ambassador” since 2014. On Saturday, she made emotional pleas for help on social media, noting on TikTok that “Somebody’s got to know something.”
“I don’t really have a choice other than to do this. I think of myself as this normal person who just loves on people but I forget that I have grown a family of almost 7 million via social media and I am grateful for you all,” Nichols wrote on Facebook. “Thank you for the continued prayers for myself, my husband, my children and our family.
“My son was taken from us last night by the hands of another individual at just 18 years old. He would be 19 today but someone else made the decision to end my son’s life. They are walking around in my town, living and breathing while my son is not. While me and my family are grieving a loss that no mother should ever have to feel, they are free.”
According to his Facebook profile, Nichols’ son worked at Controlled Environment Systems in Mobile.
“I know the days ahead are completely unknown but the only hope I have, is that this person is found and prosecuted for the murder of my son,” Nichols added in her Facebook post. “My son.”
No arrests have been made in the case, WALA reported. According to the Prichard Police Department and the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office, the investigation is ongoing, according to the television station.
A GoFundMe page has been started, and more than $191,000 has already been pledged.
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