Keeping watch: Natchitoches remembers slain student - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Keeping watch: Natchitoches remembers slain student

The Natchitoches community kept vigil Wednesday evening for a student who died after a school dispute. The Natchitoches community kept vigil Wednesday evening for a student who died after a school dispute.
NATCHITOCHES, LA (KSLA) -

Candles, voices singing softly, sadness, courage, hope - that's what filled a Natchitoches park area Wednesday evening as the community gathered to honor and grieve one of their own cut down in his prime.

There was singing and the community held hands and prayed that the Lord would see them through this tough time but, the father of Johnquaries Smith says it's shouldn't take tragedy to bring a community together.

"Why does it take this to get everyone out their house," he said.

And that isn't the only thing on John Tyree's mind. He said he's felt many emotions since losing his son Tuesday, but mainly he's just angry.

"As a father, losing a child, that puts something in you that you can't explain and you can hardly control," he said.

But Tyree is coping thanks to the overwhelming support of the community. Smith, 18, was a well-known and popular student at Natchitoches Central High School, but his life was snuffed out, after a school fight that resulted in his untimely death.

"He was a leader on and off the field," said Donald Mitchell, Smith's cousin. "I would come over and he would teach me."

Tears poured down the faces of many as loved ones took time to meditate on the memories that will live on. Candles were lit and posters honoring him were out for "Baby Hair" as many called him.

While it hurts, instead of mourning, many chose to celebrate his life.

"He always told us that if something happened to him not to cry because he was going to be up their with his mama," Mitchell said.

The family said that Smith did everything in honor of his late mother, who died of leukemia. They plan to honor his memory in the same way.

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