Terrell Pough, an 18-year-old single father struggling to raise his toddler daughter, was killed Thursday night in Philadelphia.
In August, PEOPLE profiled Pough, who worked as night manager of a local chicken restaurant while attending high school full-time and caring for his daughter, Diamond, who turns 2 on Nov. 27.
Pough was shot in the head on his way home from work at about 10:30 p.m. in Philadelphia’s Germantown neighborhood, and died later at Temple University Hospital. So far, police have no motive for the killing.
This summer, PEOPLE visited Pough, who was determined to build a better life for his daughter. “She’s what I work for, what I live for, why I wake up,” he said. “She’s everything.”
A former street-tough kid, Pough was raised by his maternal great-grandparents and never knew his own father. His life changed, however, when he learned at 15 that his then-girlfriend, Charmaine Houston, also 15, was pregnant. Although Pough and Houston drifted apart, Pough pledged to support their child.
After Diamond was born, Pough’s school placed him in the parenting-skills program Males Achieving Responsibility Successfully (MARS), where he became a star pupil. “It makes me feel really great to see a young man have the desire to be a financial provider – and do it in a legal manner,” said Damien Webber, Pough’s MARS adviser.
Pough shared custody of Diamond with Houston until, concerned that she wasn’t meeting the girl’s needs, he asked for, and won, full custody (Diamond spent weekends with her mother).
Pough’s school, Germantown High, had recently changed its daycare policies, so Pough told PEOPLE he planned to transfer for his senior year to a school that offered vocational training. Since September, he’d learned construction skills at the YouthBuild Charter School, and was on track to graduate in June.
Pough was determined to find a good job in construction so he could provide greater opportunities for Diamond. “If something ever happens to me,” he told PEOPLE, “no one can ever tell her that her dad didn’t take care of her.”