YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — The Shrine behind Ursuline High School is often the scene of great joy.
On Fridays in the fall, the Fighting Irish football team gathers at the statue to the Virgin Mary after every game, often celebrating a big win and always saying the “Hail Mary.”
There was no celebrating Thursday as a group of students gathered to mourn the passing of the city’s latest homicide victim, Reshaud Biggs Jr., 17, who was an Ursuline student and about to head into his senior year.
Instead of cheers, there were tears. Hugs. Sniffles. Somber fist bumps. Thousand-yard stares. Muffled voices and silence. At one point, nothing could be heard except the rush of traffic on the nearby Madison Avenue Expressway.
The loudest the crowd got was when they released balloons in Biggs’ honor, saying, “We love you, Reshaud.”
About 75 people were on hand, almost all of them high school students, and watched over by a pair of police officers from the Community Police Unit as well as their supervisor.
Biggs was shot and killed just after 10 p.m. Sunday as he was pumping gas at a gas station at East Avondale and South avenues. Police have released very little information on the case and have not made an incident report available.
When asked yesterday where the shot was fired from that killed Biggs, all police would say was “the perpetrator was in the area.”
The gathering was organized by Kiersten Donahue, 17, a senior and Jadyn Persing, 16, a junior.
Both students said they were close with Reshaud, who played football and basketball for the Fighting Irish, and they wanted to have something to honor his memory.
“He didn’t deserve this,” Persing said.
Both students said Biggs had a smile that was high wattage and he was always cheerful.
“He was loving inside and out,” Persing said. “He always had a smile and was fun.”
“He had the biggest, most powerful soul, and he was always laughing and smiling,” added Donahue. She also said Biggs had a conscience and shopped locally whenever possible to support local businesses.
They both said news of his death was a shock.
Donahue said a friend texted her late Sunday just after Biggs was killed to tell her the news.
“At first it didn’t hit me. I didn’t want to believe it,” she said.
Persing said she when she heard of Biggs’ death she began sobbing.
“I just dropped my phone and ran into my parents’ room,” she said.
Those who gathered were offered a chance to write a greeting to Biggs’ family, who buried his father two years ago after he was killed in a homicide one block away from where his son was killed. That case remains unsolved.
A family member of Biggs’ family passed on a message from his mother thanking them for their prayers, love and support.
Tizjai Nuby spoke to the gathering also and urged those in attendance to stay away from the violence that took the life of their friend and classmate.
“Don’t let this be in vain,” she said.