URBANDALE, Iowa -- Friends and family came from far and wide to Urbandale Skatepark to remember 20-year-old Anthony Taylor who died from a gunshot wound Sunday evening.
“I didn’t even know it was real. I didn’t want to believe it was real whatsoever,” said Matthew Long, Anthony Taylor’s best friend. “I’ve been hanging out with him for ten years. We just hung out last week and stuff. He was my travel buddy, my skate buddy. I didn’t skate with anybody except for him, because he was the best person in the world. And I’ve been taking this so badly. I really don’t know how I’m going to go on with my life after this.”
Friends said they knew Taylor by his nickname, Catwang.
They signed skateboards, wrote in journals and practiced tricks in his memory at the vigil at Urbandale Skatepark Tuesday night.
“I grew up right down the street over there and he grew up the street down there,” Long said. “We met in eighth grade and have coming here every day ever since. And we have just put so much into everything we have ever done, all our skateboarding and stuff. He came here almost every single day. That was the reason we became best friends and this was our second home.”
Long started a petition to rename Urbandale Skatepark to “Anthony Taylor Skatepark.”
“His legacy, I just want it to live on forever and that’s why I started this petition,” Long said.
Even if the park name doesn’t change, friends said his memory will live on in their hearts and at the skatepark.
“Every one just describes him as this free spirit,” said Casey Ritchie, another friend of Anthony Taylor. “He was always trying to have fun, always trying to put a smile on everyone’s faces. And the only way I can put it into words is that he was the light in everyone’s dark and everyone could always look to him for that light.”
Long said the journals and skateboards will be displayed at Taylor’s funeral.