Saturday, June 25, would have been Ophelia Nichols’ son’s 19th birthday.
But the beloved TikTok star, known as “mama tot” and “shoelover99” by her 7 million followers on the platform, posted a video that day saying he was “took from me last night.”
Her son, Randon Lee, was shot and killed at a gas station in Prichard, Alabama, which is just outside Mobile, around 7:45 p.m., police told local outlets WKRG and WALA. No arrests have been made as of Sunday, June 26, and the case is under investigation.
Now, Nichols is pleading for help finding answers.
“I’m doing this video for a reason — because I need y’all’s help,” she said in the video, which has been viewed 15.6 million times as of Sunday. “I ain’t never asked y’all for anything, but I need your help with this. There’s almost 7 million people that follow me. Somebody’s got to know something.”
You will be found! You will reap what you sow in this world. You may not be caught now but its coming. I hope you see my sons face eveyday of your life
♬ original sound - ophelia
Nichols wrote in a comment on her video that investigators “have a lead on two individuals” and said she “will not stop” until the person who shot her son is found and prosecuted.
“They’re out there living and breathing when my son is not,” she said in the video.
She then held up a photo of herself and Lee.
“This is my son and you took him from me,” she said. “Look at his face. Look at it. Because I’ll never see it again.”
She said she has a “hatred in my heart that I don’t recognize.”
“I’ve never felt hate for anybody,” she said. “This individual took my son’s life. He was just 18 years old. That’s the best part of somebody’s life. And I know they’re out there in my town. They’re out there.”
She asked again for someone to come forward, saying “somebody knows who did this to my child.”
“I’m asking for somebody’s help, anybody’s help,” she said. “This is my son. My son. My son. Please.”
Police have not released additional details about the shooting as of Sunday, WKRG reported.
On her TikTok account, Nichols shares life stories and advice with her followers, who she calls “tatertots.” She has three other children, a 24-year-old, a 21-year-old and a 20-year-old, she said in a previous video.
Nearly 375,000 people had commented on her TikTok offering support as of Sunday.
“No mother should have to go through this,” one person wrote. “I’m so sorry my heart hurts for you. Your tots are here for you.”
“I lost my son last year,” another wrote. “And I know no amount of words can heal that pain. So much love from one broken mama to another.”
“My heart is broken,” another commented. “I am so sorry Ophelia.”