Prayer vigil held for child killed by hit and run driver - - Jackson, MS

Prayer vigil held for child killed by hit and run driver

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

A community comes together in prayer for 13 year old Ray Echols who was killed last Thursday while riding his bicycle with friends.

Four days later a candlelight vigil was held to remember his short life.

The roar of motorcycle engines brings comfort to Elsie Echols and her family as The Friends of Fallen Riders converged on her Fontaine Avenue home.

The motorcycle club organized the vigil where about 100 people gathered, held candles and prayed for the sixth grader.

"It means a whole lot you know just to be able to see how much support that people are willing to support me in a time of need," said Elsie Echols.

The crowd of family, neighbors and friends joined in song to lift up the family and offer comfort.

Among them was Ray's Powell Middle School classmate Dequarius Crump.

"The accident was on the street where I stay at so I just walked outside, and I saw him on the street. He loved to play basketball. He loved to do all kinds of activities. He loved his teachers," said Crump.

The Friends of Fallen Riders immediately began collecting donations and planning the vigil after hearing the news about the fatal two wheeled accident.

"This family does not have insurance for this child. Many people don't have insurance for under aged children and that kind of thing so we also wanted to be able to provide a mechanism to help them to be able to bury their loved one and not have that to worry about," said Stacy Vance with The Friends of Fallen Riders.

A replica of the hit and run victim's bicycle leaned against a pillar in front of the Echols home.

The 39 year old Jackson mother said one of Ray's friends brought the bicycle, complete with black and white stripped wheels, to replace the original taken by Jackson police for evidence.

The mother of seven, including a disabled child, said she is still hurting and angry but is relieved 40 year old George Newell Jr. surrendered to authorities.

"I would have liked to have been there today when he went for his hearing...I wanted to be able to see the person that did this to my child and I wasn't able to be there, because they didn't let me know anything," said Echols.

But the family does find comfort in the support from the many people who came to their home to show how much they care.

"Me and my family we just take it one day at a time," added the grieving mother.

Funeral services for Ray Echols will be held Saturday at 11 a.m. at New Galilean Chapel off Flag Chapel Road.

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