Marcus and Loston

Marcus Tiner and his younger brother, Loston Tiner. Loston Tiner was found suffering from gunshot wounds on August 4 and died from his injuries. 

From a young age, Loston Tiner Jr. wanted to be just like his big brother, Marcus.

When Marcus started playing basketball or learning the violin, Loston followed suit. When Marcus discovered new television shows, Loston stayed up late to watch them with his brother. As they grew older, the brothers shared everything, the closest siblings in an already tight-knit family. 

So when Marcus Tiner, now 25 and living in California, learned that 21-year-old Loston had been shot and killed Tuesday night in Baton Rouge, something inside him broke.

"I've been crying all day. Every time I think of him, the tears start to well up," Marcus Tiner said. "It’s so much pain. I would give anything to get my brother back. Anything."

Loston Tiner Jr. was pronounced dead after first responders found him suffering from multiple gunshot wounds about 10:45 p.m. in the parking lot of an apartment complex on South Flannery Road, according to police.

The shooting occurred near the intersection of Goodwood Boulevard and South Flannery Road. Tiner lived on Glenwild Drive, a residential street less than a mile away from where he died. 

Police have not yet identified any suspects or motives. 

Now, Marcus Tiner said his family — his parents and two sisters — is struggling to overcome the grief of losing someone so young with so much promise. As for Marcus, he is grieving, but also hoping justice will be served in his brother's murder.

"I have no doubt in my mind that this was not a random incident," he said. "In order for something like this to happen, he had to have been around somebody that he sort of trusted to let his guard down." 

When his little brother was born, Marcus Tiner knew it was his responsibility to look after Loston. He realized Loston would always look up to him, so he did his best to set a good example.

The two weathered Hurricane Katrina when their family's home was destroyed in New Orleans, relocating them to Baton Rouge.

Marcus Tiner graduated from Baton Rouge Magnet High School and, following in his brother's footsteps, Loston was soon accepted. One weekend, Marcus, who had recently started at LSU, got a call from his little brother.

Loston had contacted him in a panic while at the first dance of the school year because he didn't know how to dance. 

"I was like, 'Calm down,'" Marcus Tiner said, laughing. He told Loston how to ask a girl to dance, lead her onto the dance floor and be respectful. Seven minutes later, Loston called back to tell his brother excitedly his advice had worked. 

While Loston routinely accepted his brother's guidance, he also made sure to support his brother when he could. He encouraged Marcus to walk onto the LSU track team, and when he attended his brother's meets, he would compliment him and cheer him on no matter if he won or lost.

"He always looked up to me to be that perfect big brother," Marcus said. "That’s one of those things I lived off of — knowing that my brother, if anything, always believed in me and what I could do."

Although Loston started out high school at Baton Rouge High, he transferred to Broadmoor Senior High School when he started to struggle with maintaining a certain GPA. The school toughened Loston and taught him how to take care of himself, his brother said. 

Eventually, Loston decided traditional schooling wasn't necessarily for him and decided to pursue a career in carpentry, like his father. 

Marcus, who had graduated from LSU, urged his little brother to consider getting a GED, just to give him a foundation moving forward. Loston said he would definitely think about it.

"When he grew up, he always had the lone wolf attitude," Marcus said. "He said, 'I’m starting to grow up, I need to handle things on my own.'"

The last conversation Marcus had with his little brother, he was asking Loston how much the GED cost so he could help him out. Loston promised to get back to him. Marcus remembers saying to let him know what he finds out, and that he loved him.

"And he goes, 'I love you too,'" Marcus said. "That was the last time we spoke. At least I know, that before my brother died, he knew how much I loved him and how much the family loved him."


Email Jacqueline DeRobertis at jderobertis@theadvocate.com