To his three sisters, Nathaniel Gray was a bright, talented man who wanted to help people, a protector who loved his family.
“He would have gone to war for us — but again, he had a lot of things that he wanted to do with his life in regards to helping the community and helping other black men find a way other than the lifestyle that he led at a point of time,” sister Lenora Gray said.
The 26-year-old man was shot and killed Jan. 19, 2019, on DeSota Street. Since then, Gainesville Police have not been able to release new information on the case.
“The only people who know went on was inside that house, and we’re getting no cooperation with individuals inside that house,” said Lt. Andy Smith of the department’s criminal investigations division.
The shooting took place around 5 p.m., and Gray was pronounced dead at the scene.
Smith said the department is urging anyone with information to come forward.
“We’d love for us to get closure for the family and make an arrest on that and bring the people responsible before the courts,” he said.
Sister Tomara McCuiston talked to her brother a few days before the shooting.
“He was smart and artistic,” she said. “He could draw really well, write really well and write music, raps and poems — just an all-around really talented person.”
Gray’s sisters haven’t heard much from the investigator in the year since his death, though there have been stories circulating with varied information about what may have happened.
Nadia Gray said she didn’t hear from law enforcement until the day after the shooting and learned of her brother’s death in a news report in The Times.
She drove to the police department on Jan. 20, 2019, before heading out to the crime scene on her own.
“I felt like me and my siblings have been trying to keep our hopes up in hopes to bring some type of justice to my brother,” Lenora Gray said.
Lenora Gray said her brother had spent time behind bars, but that “did not define” the man who was trying to turn his life around and never lost hope.
Nathaniel Gray wanted to start programs in low-income neighborhoods “where young black kids don’t necessarily have the access to those types of resources or mentors to guide them,” Lenora Gray said.
He was also an advocate for healthy eating, wanting to put vending machines in schools and recreation centers with better options.
McCuiston said the family tried to “keep his memory alive” by getting red Chuck Taylors, her brother’s favorite shoe. She got a tattoo of the word “buddy” with a halo over the “B.”
Lenora Gray keeps her brother’s ashes by the bed.
“To me, I keep his legacy alive in regards to how I move forward. I don’t really post on social media, but I get up every day to continue to live my life because I know that’s what he’d want. He was one of my biggest supporters,” Lenora Gray said.
How to help
Anyone with information can call the Gainesville Police’s criminal investigation divisions tips line at 770-533-5873.