The family of Caleb Slay is urging people be patient and not judge Slay until more facts come to light in his case.
Authorities say Slay, 25, was shot to death by a Drug Enforcement Administration agent Monday afternoon in the 1800 block of South Maryland Avenue in Springfield.
The DEA sent a news release Tuesday saying they were doing surveillance on someone else when Slay approached them, and a confrontation ensued. An agent shot Slay during the confrontation, and the DEA says a firearm was recovered from the scene.
A spokesperson for the Slay family said they know more information about the case that has not yet been released, and they cautioned against labeling Slay as a criminal.
“Caleb had a good heart and he wouldn’t hurt a fly,” said the spokesperson, who requested her name not be published. “He respected law enforcement and even wanted to be an officer.”
The woman who is acting as Slay’s family spokesperson said the entire family has been devastated by Monday’s events.
“We cannot comprehend our lives without him,” she said.
The family has scheduled a candlelight vigil for Saturday at 5:30 p.m. at the Kickapoo High School football field, where Slay used to play for the Chiefs. The public is invited to attend.
William “Hawaii” Tolentino said he grew up with Slay and later worked with him at Zan nightclub. Tolentino said he could always count on Slay.
“Caleb was an awesome kid,” Tolentino said.
Tolentino said Slay was almost always smiling, and he would drop everything if one of his friends was in need.
“He was more than a friend, more like a brother,” Tolentino said.
Tolentino said Slay was always respectful of police officers when they worked together at Zan, and Tolentino wondered if Monday’s encounter would have gone differently if the DEA agents were in uniform.
Andree Swanson, spokesperson for the DEA, said the agent who shot Slay works out of the DEA St. Louis Division. The agent is on administrative duty.
Swanson said the DEA does not comment on whether agents wear body cameras.
The Springfield Police Department is investigating the shooting. The investigation will eventually be turned over to the Greene County Prosecutor’s Office for review and possible criminal charges.
The Slay family is asking that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in Slay’s name to the Kickapoo Chiefs Football Booster Club.
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to contact the Springfield Police Department at 417-864-1810 or make an anonymous call to Crime Stoppers at 417-869-TIPS (8477).