TikTok Star Ophelia Nichols's Son Was Shot and Killed a Day Before Turning 19

TikTok star Ophelia Nichols lost her teenage son to gun violence in June 2022, and now, a 20-year-old man stands accused of the murder.


Jun. 27 2022, Published 11:07 a.m. ET

A TikTok star is facing tragedy after her son was shot and killed a day before he was set to turn 19. Ophelia Nichols's son Randon Lee was killed at a gas station on the night of June 24, 2022, outside of Mobile, Ala., per WKRN.

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Ophelia used TikTok to express her grief and call for action.

"Today would have been my baby child's 19th birthday, but he was took from me last night. Took from my children and my husband and our family," Ophelia said in a video posted to her TikTok on June 25, 2022. "My son was murdered. He was shot."

Ophelia is known on TikTok as "Mama Tot" and often posts videos in a friendly Southern accent from her front porch.

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"I ain't never asked y'all for anything, but I need your help with this," she said while speaking through tears. "There's almost 7 million people that follow me. Somebody's got to know something." Ophelia added that she feels a "hatred in my heart that I don't recognize 'cause I have never felt hate for anyone."

In text embedded in the video, Ophelia had more to say about her son and her quest for justice. "I will not stop until my son's murderer is found and prosecuted," she wrote.

"You will be found! You will reap what you sow in this world. You may not be caught now but it's coming. I hope you see my son's face every day of your life," she added in the caption underneath.

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Reuben Gulley turned himself in for the fatal shooting of Randon Lee.

In August 2022, Reuben Thomas Gulley turned himself in and was promptly arrested and charged with killing Randon Lee. Ophelia addressed the arrest in a TikTok video, noting that although she's grateful, she's "not happy."

"I'm getting a hundred messages saying, 'You must be so happy,' and I am not," she said. "I am not happy. You know, when situations like this happen, or other traumatic situations, I look at everything…"

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"And when I seen that mugshot last night, I thought to myself, 'My goodness, he's just a baby. He's just a baby," she went on. "And then I seen comments from his teachers that said, 'I taught him in high school, he was a lovely young man.' I bet he was. I bet he was."

Police described the fatal shooting as a drug deal gone awry — Randon was a local cannabis dealer, and Gulley had bought from him in the past, but this transaction sadly took a deadly turn.

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Fans offered sympathy for Ophelia's loss and donated to her GoFundMe.

In the comments under the video, longtime fans of Ophelia's offered their support for her as she works to find the people responsible for her son's death.

"My heart is aching for you. I am so sorry and hope so deeply that whoever did this is found," one user wrote.

"My heart is in pieces for you mama. I am so sorry, I love you so much," another added.

Although many had questions, fans rightfully pointed out that Ophelia is not the person to ask them to: "You aren't required to answer anyone, we love you. You heal. You take time. You breathe. And no one will be upset with you," a fellow TikTok user wrote.

A GoFundMe was set up to support Ophelia in the wake of this tragedy, and it's already raised more than $280,000.

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