Prayers and a candlelight vigil were held on Tuesday evening in memory of Ja’Shon Poirier, a student who was fatally shot on Monday outside Lamar High School in Arlington.
The first service was in the prayer garden of Holy Communion Catholic Church at 2100 N. Davis Drive, followed by another service at New World United Methodist Church at 2201 N. Davis.
“Our hearts are heavy and our thoughts are — well — they are now scaring our students, our teachers, our administration and our staff,” said Joe Ramos, a deacon at Holy Communion Catholic Church. “We are here because we need to be here as a community of faithful believers. We pray for our brothers and sisters that we don’t even know, but they are family nonetheless. We pray for the soul of the young man who died yesterday in this senseless school shooting.”
According to police, Poirier, 16, was shot and killed by a 15-year-old classmate outside the high school around 7 a.m., before classes were supposed to start. A woman was also injured.
Poirier was taken to the hospital in critical condition and died less than two hours later from gunshot wounds to the head and chest, according to the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Bureau. The girl, who police said was under 17, suffered a bruised cheek and was taken to the hospital.
All of the victims and suspects were students at Lamar High School.
“I don’t want to go to school anymore,” said Alina Mogel, a Lamar freshman who attended the service on Tuesday. “I thought it would be an ordinary day. Back from (spring) break, I was happy to see my friends, my teachers talk about what we had done. I was scared because nothing like this had ever happened before. It’s something you only see on the news and don’t expect it to happen to you.”
Classes have been canceled on Monday and Tuesday at the high school, and counselors will be on campus when students return on Wednesday.
“I feel like things will be different for us,” Moguel said of returning to school. “We just lived through this, and everyone should understand this. Even those who didn’t know (Ja’Shon) or people who weren’t in school yet, that’s still a lot.”
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A 15-year-old suspect, whose identity has not been released due to his age, was arrested and charged with capital murder. He is being held at the Tarrant County Juvenile Detention Center.
Police said they believe the suspect targeted at least one of the victims who were sitting near the school stairs, but the motive for the shooting remains under investigation.
“Every time you hear something like that, it’s very hurtful,” said Melinda Hamilton, founder of the Mothers of Murdered Angels. “We have to do something better. We will have to go to the schools and talk to the students because we used to fight with fists, not with weapons.”
The GoFundMe account was set up by Poirier’s cousin Na’Jai Jacob, who wanted to raise $15,000 for the funeral. As of Tuesday evening, GoFundMe has raised $15,690.