Students, faculty, and community members came together Friday afternoon to remember 15-year-old William Parsons, the Providence high school student who was shot and killed in front of a public high school on Wednesday.
Chanting his first name, a crowd of dozens gathered around candles set on the Providence Career and Technical Academy sign, near the spot where Parsons was shot. Mourners held blue balloons as a light rain fell. One by one, they stepped up to a microphone to share memories of Parsons.
"No matter how he felt, he always made sure you had a smile on your face. He always did that," a close friend of Parson said.
His friends remember him as a proud older brother who loved his family and always cared about school. His father, William Parsons, said his son aspired to be a state trooper. A good kid who was going places and stayed out of trouble.
Many speakers at the vigil called for stopping gang violence.
"Cut it out, just cut it out. All this fighting, all this anger, just cut it out. Just walk away. Walk away because it could be your brother, it could be your sister, it could be me, or it could be any of your friends that just got shot," a classmate said.
Parsons was killed by accident, according to police. Authorities believe he was caught by a bullet fired during an argument between two other young men. Parsons happened to be standing nearby. He had just started the 10th grade. A 16-year-old has been charged with his killing outside two city high schools.
One student, who identified herself as a classmate, made an emotional plea for gun control.
"I didn’t know William at all, but I wanted to say something. How many more kids have to die until we get gun control? There’s been too many deaths," she said.
Those who knew Parsons well urged his classmates to honor his life by getting an education.
"If you want to repay William, make sure you take the time to stay in school, stay educated, and go to college. Get out of here," said a close family-friend.
William Parsons will be laid to rest Thursday morning. He was a 15-year-old sophomore at Central High School.