DUPLIN COUNTY, NC (WITN) - One community in the east, anxious for closure, came together to remember a 16-year-old who tragically died earlier this week.
Friends, family, even strangers, hundreds gathered together Friday night at South Lenoir High School for a candlelight vigil to remember a student, Jessica Ramsey.
The 16-year-old's life was tragically cut short Wednesday when she died of a gunshot wound to the head.
Police are still investigating what happened leading up to the shooting, but Friday night, the community members gathered together to get away from all of that and celebrate Jessica's life.
The vigil started promptly at 7:14 p.m., a tribute to Jessica herself who was number 14 on the Volleyball team.
The night started in the school's auditorium where friends spoke about her life before everyone went outside, releasing lanterns and holding candles, having a moment of silence that was only broken by an original song that was written and performed for the vigil, all honoring Jessica.
"I mean, this is a community, Deep Run, South Lenoir High School, that's what we are," says Principal Steve Saint-Amand. "We are community. When stuff like this happens, when tragedy strikes such as this. This is where our community shows and we come together and support each other in times such as this."
The principal also says that the school has been offering counseling services to students all week to help them cope with this tragedy.
He said that several counselors from neighboring schools actually came in to help meet any needs the students might have and said that the school will be there to help as long as any student needs it.
Jessica Ramsey's family is asking anyone who would like to help to make a donation in her memory to do so to the South Lenoir High School volleyball team.
Funeral arrangements have been announced for a teenager who was shot Monday night at her home in Duplin County.
Jessica Ramsey died Wednesday morning at Vidant Medical Center from her injuries.
The 16-year-old was shot in the head at the home on Bryce Hardison Road in Deep Run, according to Sheriff Blake Wallace. The sheriff says her death remains under investigation.
Ramsey was a junior at South Lenoir High School where she also played on the volleyball team.
Visitation will be from 10:00 am until 12:00 pm on Saturday at Jackson Heights Free Will Baptist Church in Kinston, while the funeral service will begin at 12:00 noon. Burial will follow at Pinelawn Memorial Park.
There will also be a vigil at the high school on Friday.
Donations in Ramsey's memory can be made to the South Lenoir High School Volleyball Team, 3355 Old Hwy 11, Deep Run, NC 28525.
The death of a high school student who was shot Monday night remains under investigation.
The Pitt County Medical Examiner's Office confirms they are performing an autopsy on the body of Jessica Ramsey. The 16-year-old was a junior at South Lenoir High School and a member of the volleyball team.
The Duplin County Sheriff's Office is investigating the shooting, but have not yet released the circumstances.
Sheriff Blake Wallace says deputies were called to a home on Bryce Hardison Road in Deep Run around 7:30 p.m. Monday.
The teen had been shot in the head, and deputies now say the case "is under further investigation".
The teenager had been in critical condition at Vidant Medical Center and she died this morning.
Statement from South Lenoir principal Steve Saint-Amand
The South Lenoir High School family is mourning the loss of a student, a teammate and a friend. Jessica Morgan Ramsey, a junior at South Lenoir, will best be remembered for her love of volleyball and her strong academic performance in school. She also played travel volleyball year-round. She touched the lives of our staff and many of our students at South Lenoir during her three short years with us. Our hearts are heavy and our deepest condolences go to the family. We are here to offer our support to Jessica’s family and friends who cannot believe she is gone. We recognize the painful reality, but look to remember her joyful nature, to reaffirm our beliefs and to release Jessica’s spirit as we seek solace within our South Lenoir family and community. Rest in Peace, #14, you will always be a South Lenoir Blue Devil in our hearts.
Statement from Superintendent Brent Williams
On behalf of the entire LCPS family, I want to extend our deepest sympathy to the family of Jessica Ramsey. We all were shocked and profoundly saddened by the news of the accident and, later, by word that Jessica's struggle to maintain life had ended and that she had passed away. Today, our hearts are heavy with grief as we all join with Jessica's family and with the SLHS family in mourning the death of one of our own – a bright young lady who demonstrated success and unlimited potential in the classroom and on the field of athletic competition. Hers was, indeed, a life and a bright light that ended too soon. Within the overall sadness of this loss, we all can find comfort in considering the great and positive impact that Jessica’s life had on all who knew her. Our entire school system family will continue to keep Jessica’s family in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time of loss and healing.