Suspect charged in killing of Eastpointe man in Detroit

School community mourns loss

By: Andy Kozlowski, Brendan Losinski | C&G Newspapers | Published May 31, 2019

 A wall tribute to Latae’o Garrett, 18, of Eastpointe, was set up at Madison Preparatory High School following the alumnus’ death May 25. Garrett, also known by the nickname Tao,  was killed when a man tried to steal his designer sunglasses.

A wall tribute to Latae’o Garrett, 18, of Eastpointe, was set up at Madison Preparatory High School following the alumnus’ death May 25. Garrett, also known by the nickname Tao, was killed when a man tried to steal his designer sunglasses.

Photo by Deb Jacques

 Latae’o Nathan Garrett

Latae’o Nathan Garrett

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“He will be missed by so many. But we are so grateful to have had the chance to know him.”

Leslie Renne-Kegebein, Madison Prep principal

DETROIT — A 20-year-old Eastpointe man has been charged in connection with the shooting death of an 18-year-old Eastpointe man during a robbery in Detroit.

The incident occurred at 11:23 p.m. May 25 at a gas station located in the 11000 block of East Seven Mile Road. The Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office said that Mario Buthia, 20, allegedly attempted to take the Cartier glasses of Latae’o Nathan Garrett, 18. According to the Prosecutor’s Office, when Garrett resisted, Buthia shot him in the abdomen.

The Prosecutor’s Office said that Garrett was treated at the scene before being transported to a hospital, where he died of his injuries. Detroit police officers investigated the crime and reportedly located and arrested Buthia May 28.

Buthia was charged with one count of first-degree murder, one count of felony murder, one count of armed robbery, one count of felon in possession of a firearm and four counts of felony firearm, according to the Prosecutor’s Office. He was arraigned May 31 in the 36th District Court. He had not retained or been assigned an attorney at press time.


‘He was a peacemaker’
Garrett graduated last year from Madison Preparatory High School, 25601 Couzens Ave., part of Madison District Public Schools, where he went by the nickname Tao.

He reportedly worked two jobs to earn enough money to buy the designer pair of Cartier glasses for graduation and prom.

Leslie Renne-Kegebein, the school’s principal, said that Garrett will be remembered fondly by the students and staff. Garrett, a member of the varsity basketball team, had a reputation for resolving disputes both on and off the court.

“We all felt that Tao was a kind young man who was always happy and smiling. He was a leader in school and on the basketball court. He had all A’s and B’s at the time of graduation,” said Renne-Kegebein. “He was a peacemaker and a bright star in our school.”  

The principal also noted Garrett’s service on the school’s Leadership Committee, as well as his participation in volunteer and community service projects.

“Of course, my thoughts are that this is such a senseless loss of life,” Renne-Kegebein said. “Tao did nothing to put himself in the place he is now. He always made good choices. We teach kids to work hard for the things they want. We tell them that working hard pays off. So, bless his heart, he does just that — and now he is gone. So sad, so senseless. Such a loss.”

Garrett’s death over Memorial Day weekend cast a shadow over the following week, in which Madison Prep’s 2019 senior class graduated.

“They’re still processing (his death),” Renne-Kegebein said of the students. “We’ve had many senior events going on this week to complicate matters. We’re trying to find a balance.”

The school’s counselors have been helping students work through their emotions, and a tribute was created for Garrett in the hallway where he signed his name on the graduation wall. On May 29, students and staff gathered around it, sharing their feelings and their memories of Garrett. There was also a moment of silence for Garrett during the commencement ceremony May 30.

The Madison Prep community held a candlelight vigil May 31 at Balduck Park on East Warren Avenue in Detroit.

A GoFundMe account has also been established to help support the Garrett family in their time of grieving, and it can be found at the site by searching for “senseless murder of Latae’o Garrett.”

“He will be missed by so many,” Renne-Kegebein said. “But we are so grateful to have had the chance to know him.”

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