Nashville community troubled over 15-year-olds arrested for murder of gas station clerk

Posted at 5:18 PM, Nov 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-30 22:30:47-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Community members will come together Wednesday to remember the life Vishal Patel through a candlelight vigil.

Two 15-year-olds from Kentucky are accused of shooting and killing the clerk at the Kwik Sak off of Lebanon Pike.

As the community mourns, activists are troubled the two men accused of the crime are young.

"You just hate to see someone lose their life who is just doing their everyday normal 9 to 5 job," said Marcus Meneese, founder of Stronger Than My Father, which is a nonprofit in Nashville that works with teenage boys and mentors them. It also has a before and after-school program.

So far in the investigation, NewsChannel 5 learned the two teens stole a family member’s car. Police said they admitted to robbing a second gas station Sunday before they said the two showed up at the Kwik Sak on Lebanon Pike.

"If you’ve already acted now, it's in God's hands, judges, and courts,” said Tristian Buckner, who formerly spent time in prison for a second-degree murder charge from 1995.

He got out and changed his life around. He now owns and works at a barbershop.

Buckner knows teens who find themselves in serious trouble aren’t thinking about consequences before they act.

"Your achievement may be different. Your self-esteem may be different, so it’s a lot that’s lacking with the youth. They need the exposure to see things differently and choose a different way of doing things," Buckner explained.

Meneese said he mentors youth through his Stronger Sons program. He thinks teens committing crimes are missing a father figure.

"They need a mentor. They need somebody who is going to stick with them through good and bad. Not just a father figure in their life, but someone they can depend on. That’s what we want to do with Stronger Sons," Meneese said.

Both Menesse and Buckner think the community can work together to try to prevent another senseless tragedy like this.

"Learn to communicate. That’s a big thing because we don’t talk. They tend to shoot and talking could’ve solved the problem," Buckner explained.

Buckner has a podcast called the Felon's Guide, where he hopes others learn from his mistakes and how to make better choices.

A GoFundMe has been set up to help cover funeral costs on behalf of the Patel family. You can donate at this link.