Former teacher: ‘He’s the sweetest kid you’d ever meet’

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A former teacher of a teenager who was shot and killed is speaking out. Tamika Hicks was a teaching assistant in 16-year-old Quinlan Partington class three years ago when he was in 8th grade at Paul Harding Junior high. Hicks said she can’t believe his life was taken in such a violent way.

“There are not very many Quinlan’s out there,” she said. “But then his last name… I knew it was him but then I just couldn’t believe it. It just can’t be him.”

Partington was found dying early Thursday near McMillen Park Golf Course just down the street from where he lived. He was later pronounced dead at a hospital. According to the coroner’s report he was shot to death and his death ruled a homicide.

“To find out he had been taken in such a devastating way just hurt my heart,” said Hicks. “He’s the kid you see with the smile and he’s so joyful.”

Hicks has fond memories of Partington. She remembers the energetic 8th grader yelling her name down the halls. She said Partington would always visit her classroom to say hi or simply give her a hug.

“Right at that tardy bell, I knew Quinlan was coming,” she said. “He would come and say, ‘Ms. Hicks I just had to give you a hug. I don’t need a pass I just wanted to give you a hug.'”

She said he was a typical middle school kid who loved sports, especially basketball and football. Hicks said like any teenager, he found himself in trouble from time to time but never anything of this magnitude.

“I’ve never known him to be in trouble for anything major so this was a total shock to me,” said Hicks.

Partington is the fourth homicide in Allen County this year. Hicks said it seems like the homicide victims are getting younger. She wants the community to come together to stop the violence and keep praying for better days.

A go fund me account has been set up to raise money for Partington’s funeral expenses.