WILMINGTON, Del. (CBS) — Matima Miller, known as “Swavy,” had millions of followers on TikTok. He’s now part of a growing list of people shot and killed in Delaware’s most populous.
On Saturday night, the victim’s family spoke exclusively to Eyewitness News.
“He was a star. He is a star. We always knew he was a star. He was bigger than life,” Rahkim Clark, Miller’s brother, said.
With nearly 3 million followers on TikTok, social media users knew Swavy for his dance moves, skits and sense of style.
“He was very outgoing, so courageous. He had no fear like he would go anywhere and just bust in rhythm,” Clark said.
REMEMBERING MATIMA. The 19-year-old Wilmington, DE native & TikTok star was shot and killed July 5 near his home. His family says they always knew he was a star and don’t know why anyone would want to dim his light. @CBSPhilly pic.twitter.com/JTo92tFiJa
— Jasmine Payoute (@jpayoute) July 10, 2021
But to his loved ones, Matima Abasi Miller was so much more than a trend. They are talking only to CBS3.
“Matima was a beautiful person,” Clark said. “He had such a wonderful soul. His legacy will live on forever.”
A gunman shot and killed the 19-year-old on Elbert Place just before 11 a.m. Monday in Wilmington. His mother said she was forced to watch his final moments.
“I’m mentally going through it because I seen it. I seen my son shot down in the street like that,” Chanelle Clark, Miller’s mom, said. “Y’all don’t know what I’m going through.”
Adding to their heartbreak, the family feels they have to be on the defensive after talk show host Wendy Williams’ commented about the TikTok star’s death and number of followers.
“Look at my eyes and stuff. Y’all, like as a mother, Wendy Williams, how dare you? So disrespectful. I used to watch you as a child and even though you have a gossip show and all that, you didn’t even know my son,” Clark said.
But, according to his big brother, his name — Matima Abasi — means strong heart in Swahili, and that’s what they’re choosing to focus on as they continue their search for justice.
“I never knew how big he was until he was put into this situation, but one thing I will say is people did give him his flowers while he was here,” Qua’naijha Clark, Miller’s sister, said.
Wilmington police say there have been 62 shooting incidents, 15 of those fatal.
An anti-violence event planned for Sunday at Kirkwood Park is meant to bring awareness to the gun violence.
CBS3’s Jasmine Payoute reports.