AUSTIN — Louis Wherry — a single father of five — was killed in Austin this month as he tried to defend his son against a neighborhood bully, relatives said.
"A grown man beat up his 14-year-old kid, so [Wherry] went down there to see what happened, and a man shot him," said his sister Elizabeth Wherry, 30. "He was protecting his son."
According to authorities, Louis Wherry, 36, was fatally shot about 8 p.m. on Oct. 4 during an argument in the 400 block of South Central Avenue.
Wherry's 14-year-old son Daquan had been physically attacked by a man in the neighborhood, relatives and neighbors said. When Wherry went to confront the man — whom neighbors described as short-tempered and in his mid-20s — someone standing with the man pulled a gun
Police said Wherry tried to run away, but didn't make it. He was struck in his abdomen, back, buttocks and elbow, and pronounced dead at Mount Sinai Hospital at 8:33 p.m.
As of Friday, no arrests have been made.
"I wouldn't have ever thought in my wildest dreams I'd bury another son," said Wherry's mother, Lennie Hays, 56, who described herself as "devastated."
Hays lost her oldest son, Earke Wherry, in 2002 when he was gunned down leaving a sibling's apartment. Relatives believe it was a case of mistaken identity, but the murder was never solved. Earke Wherry was 27 at the time.
"Louie was my baby son. Earke was my oldest," Hays said from her Austin home, as dozens of friends and relatives gathered to share a meal and stories about Louis Wherry.
"He didn't meet no strangers," Hays said. "When he met someone, I'd have thought he knew them his whole life. He made you like him."
Relatives described "Big Lou" as "mischievous," "goofy" and "very caring." The longtime truck driver was into weightlifting, looked forward to holiday gatherings and could beat just about anyone at spades.
“He's going to keep you rolling" with laughter, his mom said. "He's always got something going — talking some junk or just being silly."
Louis Wherry, who lived in the 200 block of South Central Avenue, had worked as a truck driver for more than a decade, his family said. He owned five freight trucks, which he often rented out for extra cash.
On Nov. 1, Wherry was set to launch "Wherry Transportation Services" — his own trucking company.
"He always worked for someone else and never become a millionaire," Elizabeth Wherry said. "So he said: 'I'm doing all this work and made [other people] millions and millions of dollars. How come I can't make my own millions?'”
Louis Wherry dreamed of eventually settling in Kentucky, a state he often visited for work. He loved the scenery and planned to "buy a house and take his babies with him," his sister said.
While relatives said they were shocked by Louis Wherry's murder, none were surprised he went to bat for his son. Family characterized Wherry as an involved and protective father to his five kids — Shameka 19, Shaporsha 18, Louis Jr., 15, Shaqresha, 14, and Daquan, 14.
"He was a good person," one of his daughters said. "He was not in the streets. He hated going outside, actually. He didn't drink. He didn't smoke.”
According to family, four children will move in with their mothers, while Daquan — whose mom died of cancer earlier this year — will stay with Hays.