Natchitoches community mourns loss of teenager - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Natchitoches community mourns loss of teenager

The aunt of a Natchitoches student charged with the killing of another student said the tragedy began with a dispute between the two teenagers. The aunt of a Natchitoches student charged with the killing of another student said the tragedy began with a dispute between the two teenagers.

The death of a young Nachitoches man at his high school has set the community on edge and mourning the loss of one of their own.

Johnquaries Smith, 18, was allegedly punched by another student at Natchitoches Central High School Monday. Smith reportedly fell and hit his head, cracking his skull and suffering a brain hemorrhage.

Smith died Tuesday morning at a Shreveport hospital after his family made the decision to remove him from life support. But students and parents back in Natchitoches are worried that this incident may lead to more violence at the school.

"I was sitting in third block and we heard a bunch of commotion," said one student who asked to not be identified.

A 16-year-old student has been charged with Smith's death. Authorities have not released his name or photo due to his age. He is being held at Ware Detention Center in Coushatta.

"I didn't think, I really thought he was going to make it," said Smith's friend Reneique Pattain. "I just want to tell his family, I am truly sorry for what happened. I hope they can get through this."

The charge was originally second degree battery, but after Smith died, that charge was upgraded to manslaughter.

"My heart goes out the the family on both sides," said NCHS parent Sharvel Addison. "Both of them had their lives ahead of them, it's just bad on both sides."

Melinda Reliford is the accused teen's aunt. She feels for the Smith family, but also doesn't want her nephew to be painted as a monster. She said he never meant for this to happen.

"I spoke with an official at Natchitoches Central today, around lunchtime, and he assured me that (the student) hit the child once and you could tell it was because they were having words," she said.

"He didn't sucker punch him or just sneak up on him, they were arguing and (the student) hit him and it went bad."

Additional security was on hand at the school Tuesday. Counselors are also available there.

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