Tyson Gay pays tribute to daughter shot dead

Shoshana Boyd (L) and Olympic sprinter Tyson Gay embrace during the candlelight vigil (Reuters)
Shoshana Boyd (L) and Olympic sprinter Tyson Gay embrace during the candlelight vigil (Reuters)

Olympic sprinter Tyson Gay has spoken publicly for the first time since his daughter was killed over the weekend.

Fifteen-year-old Trinity Gay, also a promising runner, was hit by a stray bullet when gunfire erupted in a carpark outside of a Kentucky restaurant.

Three men, including a father and son, have been charged in connection with the shootout but pleaded not guilty in court.

A candlelit vigil was held on Lafayette High School's track, Trinity's school, on Tuesday (local time) and thousands of people turned out.

Speaking at the vigil, Gay thanked the community for the support it had shown in the wake of the tragic event.

"I would also like to say, as a father I would like to thank all the fathers doing their best and all the mothers doing their best. I want to thank Shoshana [Boyd] for being a great mother," he said.

"Parents do their best to raise their child the best they can. Sometimes things just happen that are out of our control. All you can do is ask God why, but sometimes we don't get an answer."

Gay asked for everyone to come together to protect each other and "stop all this violence".

"Not just for three days. I don't want people crying for three days, come to the funeral, wear the t-shirt for two days and then it's over," he said.

"I want people to continue to pray, continue to protect each other, continue to come together if you have information about someone's dad or someone's... It's not fair for someone to lose their life at such a young age."

A number of people who attended the vigil dressed in purple and pink, Trinity's favourite colours, and some released balloons into the sky in tribute.