Dozens held each other close in the cold Thursday night during a vigil to honor a Smithfield teen’s memory.
Many wore the color red and proudly sported Chicago Bulls caps. These were two of Deandre Jamar Thomas’s favorite things. Friends and family called him DJ.
Monday night, DJ was shot at a Smithfield home and later died at Norfolk General.
Though only 17, it was clear DJ had touched many lives.
The Isle of Wight County Sheriff’s Office is still investigating DJ’s death and have not said whether DJ was alone or with someone else when the shooting happened. They did say a small handgun was found at the scene.
The family did not want to give details, but did say one thing.
“It was accidental,” says Evelyn Cooper, DJ’s grandmother. It was an accident.”
Though heart broken, the family hopes DJ’s death will at least serve as a lesson to others.
“Don’t play with guns, in any form or fashion,” says Toby Thomas, DJ’s uncle. “A gun can be used as a weapon of war, or a weapon of destruction.”
“Please put the guns down,” Cooper says. “Young boys, put the guns down.”
Deputies say that there was no sign of struggle or forced entry into the home and no suspects were in custody.
News Channel 3 called a spokesperson Thursday for an update and also went by the sheriff’s office. No one was available to comment.