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Tanner McKenzie Ernest

Age 17

Gonzales, Louisiana

Quick wit. Close siblings. One left.

He had a “quick wit,” an “unfaltering sense of humor.” His family took in Dakota Theriot when he had nowhere to stay. He and his sister — Dakota’s girlfriend – were “glued at the hip,” said their aunt Crystal.


“I’ve never seen siblings so close in my whole life, they would literally die for one another,” said his grandmother Evelyn. “And I believe (they) did.”

On Jan. 26, 2019, Dakota Theriot shot and killed Tanner McKenzie Ernest, 17, in Gonzales, Louisiana. Also killed were Tanner’s sister, Summer, his father, Billy, and Theriot’s parents. Theriot faces five counts of first-degree murder.

By Joe Meyerson · Age 17 and Mila Sirimongkolvit · Age 13
Meet the Reporters

More than 100 jokesters

Natwan Kian Holyfield

Supposed to go to homecoming, prom

Kaiden Vague

Sixteenth birthday. Golden birthday. Last birthday.

Eric Xavier Degori

His jokes could make anyone laugh

Will Earl Davis Jr.

The rising senior was always smiling

Rashiya Melton

Joins brother, leaves behind her twin

Edgar Alan Espino

Jokester loved to make people laugh

Daron Johnson

He went to celebrate another’s life

Jayvone J. Shackelford-Bishop

Friends together like Lilo & Stitch

Deandre Moon

Overnight tragedy for a basketball fan

Terale Claridy-Vaught

‘Solid’ friend barely gets to adulthood

Robert Carranza

He liked to post song lyrics

Amauri Green

Died while fixing a flat tire

Eddie Daiquan Grant

A devoted boyfriend and rap fan

Bryan Portales Escalante

Phone, wallet, shoes and, life — gone

Darion Gordon

Sixteen years erased by one bullet

Steven Alexander Jr.

He missed his first Father’s Day

Jonathan David Freeman Jr.

Debated anything, from music to Deflategate

Matthew James Jurado

Challenging student had a compassionate heart

Ryan J. Dillon

A playful boy, stopped by bullets

Manuel Lopez Jr.

High school senior set to graduate