Holly Robinson Peete Ryan Gainer


Holly Robinson Peete Ryan Gainer


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Holly Robinson Peete posted about Ryan Gainer’s death.

Hallmark star Holly Robinson Peete shared an emotional, powerful social media post about the recent death of a young man.

As CNN reported on March 14, 15-year-old Ryan Gainer died after an incident with the police. Gainer lived in California and had autism. A statement from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department on March 9 indicated Gainer died after what the department referred to as a “Lethal Force Encounter.”

Peete shared that she and her foundation helped Gainer’s family with funeral arrangements.

Here’s what you need to know:


Holly Robinson Peete Helped Ryan Gainer’s Family Through Their Tragedy

Peete shared via Instagram on April 22, “Sweet 15 year old #RyanGainer was laid to rest this weekend.” The Hallmark star added, “We felt blessed and honored to help the family with a few things pertaining to the service.”

She included three photos in her Instagram post and cautioned followers the third slide might be disturbing to people.

The first picture showed a large poster-sized photo of Gainer wearing a suit jacket and tie. An array of funeral flowers was next to it. The second photo showed Gainer’s closed red casket with a large bouquet of red and blue flowers on top.

The third photo, the one Peete cautioned her followers about, was of Gainer in his casket. He wore the same blue tie and suit jacket he had worn in what appeared to be a school photo.

Peete noted that Gainer “LOVED the @dodgers and @lakers.” Several items representing both teams were placed around the teen in the casket.

The Hallmark star explained that Gainer “was adopted at 2 years old from an abusive situation… given a chance in the world by his amazing adoptive parents Sharon and Norman even though they were told he was ‘unadoptable’ due to his epilepsy, crohns #autism and other behavioral issues.”

Despite Gainer’s special needs, Peete noted his adoptive parents “fought for him and provided a good life for him…His brain was special. He had hopes and dreams for his future.”


Peete Has an Autistic Son, Too

Peete has a son, RJ, who received an autism diagnosis at the age of 3, notes the “Our Story” page on the HollyRod Foundation website.

In the caption of her Instagram post, Peete wrote extensively about the challenges a family can face when a teen with autism experiences an intense, emotional episode. Those challenges can become heightened when the teen is black and law enforcement becomes involved, she pointed out.

“My RJ had his share of these sensory overload episodes and once in public where people threatened to call the police,” Peete recalled. She insisted, “Ryan should be alive today… Period. He’d come so far. Overcame so much just to be shot dead 3 times in his front yard.”

She further explained that Gainer’s mother “wanted people to see him in his casket with all of his favorite things. He was just a sweet boy trying to navigate a world that didn’t value him.”


Peete’s Post Prompted an Outpouring of Support

Peete’s Instagram post received over 30,000 “likes” and 4,000 comments as people showed their support for her as well as for Gainer’s family.

“Heartbreaking. Thank you for all you do Holly. Our condolences to the Gainer family. Rest well Ryan, ” read one comment.

“Rest in peace Ryan. Your life and death will forever be remembered Especially among us that are raising little black autistic children. Thank you Holly for sharing, ” another supporter wrote.

Someone else added, “The word sad is inadequate…. May his legacy be the beginning of great change. ”

Some commenters criticized Peete for including the photo showing Gainer in his casket. The Hallmark star responded to several of the critical comments.

In one case, Peete replied, “If his mother wanted to show him like that then who are you to judge? We discussed it at length.”

In another reply, Peete wrote, “That is him. And his parents wanted me to post it. If you don’t understand Google Emmett Till’s mother and you will find out.”

Stacy Carey has been a freelance writer focusing on reality television and celebrity news for more than a decade. She is a Heavy contributor for The Bachelor, Hallmark and Dancing With the Stars. More about Stacy Carey





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