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Shooting victim Tyler Gerth's family, friends say final farewell on his birthday

Tyler Gerth was killed during a shooting at Jefferson Square Park Saturday.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The family and friends of Louisville photographer Tyler Gerth celebrated his life with a memorial service on what would have been his 28th birthday.

Gerth was killed when 23-year-old suspect Steven Lopez opened fire into a crowd of people during a protest at Jefferson Square Park Saturday. Lopez is charged with murder and nine counts of wanton endangerment. 

Gerth's sisters, Brittany Loewen and Tiffany Hensley, who have spoken about honoring their brother's legacy gave a eulogy admiring his perseverance.

They described how Gerth wanted to be part of the movement for justice, saying they hope their family and the community will continue his legacy and his fight for change.

"As you go today allow this moment to sit with you," they said. "May it drive you to action in remembrance of the man who could've never dreamed of the plans the Lord had in store for him and the way that he would inspire and influence so many."

His sisters said their goodbyes to Gerth while wishing him a happy birthday. 

"We love you we miss you," they said. "We're still going to watch Hamilton tonight on Disney+ like we had planned."

Loewen and Hensley said Gerth's mantra was to be excellent to one another.

"Our world has never needed us to exhibit that more than right now," they said.

The sisters read a letter from Gerth's close friend who couldn't make it to the service. The letter described some of the dreams the 28-year-old never had the chance to achieve.

"We'd also plan trips to travel the world one day when I was financially ready," Gerth's sisters read. "He also told me that he wanted to move to LA on his 29th Birthday."

Though his life was cut short, Gerth's family says his legacy is just beginning.

"Even though there's a million things you haven't done," Loewen said. "Just you wait, the world is going to know your name."

Gerth's family has set up a GoFundMe account that his sisters said they plan to use to help advance social justice causes that were close to his heart.

The service at St. Raphael the Archangel Catholic Church followed a private visitation for loved ones.

RELATED: Tyler Gerth remembered as incredible mentor in Big Brother Big Sisters program

RELATED: 'It's a comfort to us to know that Tyler was fighting for what he believed in.' Tyler Gerth's sisters honor his legacy

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