TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — Family, friends and schoolteachers paid tribute Friday to Kei’lan Allen, who was an 8th-grade student at Westlawn Middle School. The school released balloons to remember the 13-year-old who was shot and killed a year ago.

Allen’s grandmother Georgia Black says she wants everyone to remember her precious grandson who died too soon.

“When something like this happens, we just don’t go back to normal. It will never be the same normal than when he was here,” Black said. “So we are just keeping his memory alive and keep doing things that will stop gun violence and never forget him.”

Allen was shot and killed while sitting in his bedroom in Washington Square in 2021. Police say he was the unintended victim of a drive-by shooting. Three suspects were arrested.

Westlawn Middle School principal Darlene Atkins says the 13-year-old was a model student.

“My heart is literally beaming with joy,” Atkins said. “Although this occasion isn’t one we would like to have, celebrating his life and legacy is one thing we will forever do and I am just thrilled everyone is here today.”

Lamar Advertising is also helping to pay tribute to Allen. On Saturday, the company will put up a digital billboard on 15th Street showing the 13-year-old’s picture. The billboard calls for an end to gun violence.