Family and friends gather to pay respects to Ottawa teen shot by police

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OTTAWA, Kan. -- A store parking lot in Ottawa turned into a makeshift memorial for a teen shot by police. Friends and family gathered Monday night to remember 18-year-old Joseph Jennings.

An officer shot and killed him Saturday night. Initial reports say police were called to the Orscheln parking lot for a man waving a gun. Family and friends are now frustrated, angry and sad. They say Jennings didn't have to die.

While they wait for answers, all they can do is try to come to grips with what happened and say goodbye.

Jennings’ father, another family and friends paid tribute to him by revving their engines 18 times on their motorcycles, once for each year of his life as part of the vigil for the teen killed by police Saturday night. While the family is angry, no one wanted to talk on camera about what happened.

But Charlene Smith, a woman who Jennings called grandma since he was three, was taken aback by the show of support.

“Everybody showing up here today is just phenomenal. I love it, I didn’t think it would be this big of a turnout to tell you the truth. But I’m really honored to know that this many people cared about my grandson Joseph,” Smith said.

Balloons, pictures and candles made up part of a memorial for Jennings. Ottawa police and Franklin County authorities had no comment on Saturday’s incident. They want to wait until the investigation is complete.

Jennings’ family says they are eager for that information as well, and say he wasn’t armed. Again, police have not commented, citing an ongoing investigation.

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