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Lia Lin Collier

Age 15

Columbia, Tennessee

A light, “unrelenting joy” extinguished

She was an artist who loved to bake, craft, sew. A generous, selfless girl who cared for others and enjoyed giving gifts. She was one of four adopted children in the family and was homeschooled with three of her six siblings.

She “was unrelenting joy and exuberance,” reads an online testimonial by her family. “A loving and tender young woman who was always concerned about others’ well-being. A sweet hearted social butterfly who enjoyed good jokes and teasing.”

Lia Lin Collier, 15, and her three siblings were fatally shot by their mother in a murder-suicide on Oct. 15, 2018, at their home in Columbia, Tennessee.

By Suan Lee · Age 16
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Peyton Nicole Hurt

Age 15

Ledbetter, Kentucky

Still helping others, even in death

She spent her days painting watercolors. She would often sing – in the shower, in the car, for her family. She loved her siblings, her nephews, the people that surrounded her. She was always there for them:  She hugged when they cried, she talked when they couldn’t, she smiled when until they would laugh. She loved helping others.

Peyton Nicole Hurt, 15, was shot at a house party by her ex-boyfriend in Ledbetter, Kentucky on June 9, 2018. She was kept on life support long enough to donate her organs.

By Since Parkland Staff · Age
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Ricky Ryon Willis III

Age 10

Tampa, Florida

YouTuber was destined for great things

A smooth voice. Deep brown eyes. His smile, unique with gap teeth, shined wide.

He started off his YouTube videos with a bombastic, “What’s up Willis Fam!” In his channel’s bio, he promised that he would “entertain and make people happy when they're sad.” In one video, he said, “I’m basically gonna be going a lot of places.”

His mother’s boyfriend, however, had other plans.

Deputies say he shot and killed Ricky Ryon Willis, 10, and his mother in Tampa, Florida, on Oct. 21, 2018, during an argument over changing the television channel. Ryon’s “America’s Got Talent” audition was scheduled for December.

By Sarah Bentley · Age 16
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James J. Springer III

Age 12

Syracuse, New York

“The man” who never grew up

He adored his skateboard and bike; he rode them all the time. He dreamed of being a sketch artist and practiced frequently.

He was described as “kind, funny and ‘the man.’”  His family saw him finally growing out of his mischievous stage, but they never stopped calling him Jr.

James J. Springer III, 12, was shot in the stomach and killed at 9:30 p.m. on Oct. 10, 2018, outside his home in Syracuse, New York. While his classmates slept in their beds, James was rushed to Upstate University Hospital, where he passed away in an unfamiliar room.

By Keeley Ward · Age 16
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Zachary Mulford

Age 15

New Castle, Pennsylvania

Summer job turns into winter grief

His short, brown hair was practical and out of his face as he worked in the summer to mow lawns. Beneath the sweat, he was an artist consumed by the need to draw, and a drummer for his high school band.

He loved his family – including his six siblings – his city, and his friends. His friends loved him too: one attempted CPR while waiting for an ambulance to arrive after a gun accidentally discharged at a friend’s home.

Zachary Mulford, 15, died Dec. 8, 2018 of a gunshot wound to his chest in his beloved city of New Castle, Pennsylvania.

By Tess Fuller · Age 16
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Lashonda Sharreice Childs

Age 17

Dayton, Ohio

A beautician who cried for help

She was an esthetician who’d just started a beauty business.

But an ugly relationship wouldn’t let go. Between 2011 and October 2018, her ex-boyfriend was arrested 15 times. He bit her and held her at gunpoint. He was arrested and ordered to receive counseling. He allegedly stole her phone and set her hair on fire; she got a protective order. On social media, she cried out: “Domestic violence is real.”

Lashonda Sharreice Childs, 17, was with a new boyfriend on Oct. 2, 2018 in Dayton, Ohio, when she was shot by her ex-boyfriend. She was taken to Grandview Medical Center, where she died the next day.

By Gracie Weinstein · Age 17
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Joaquin Oliver

Age 17

Parkland, Florida

A poet silenced, a brother missed

On the morning of Valentine’s Day, he walked into school with flowers and a plan for a date with his girlfriend.

He was a supportive brother, thoughtful friend and beloved son, known for his loyalty. He was a brilliant writer, authoring beautiful love poems and thought-provoking short stories. He was proud of his Venezuelan heritage, his skills on the basketball court, and his diverse taste in music.

Joaquin Oliver, 17, was shot and killed on Feb. 14, 2018, in a hallway outside his creative writing class at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. He drew his last breath in the place where he found his friends, his love and his education.

By Rebecca Schneid · Age 17
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LaMar De’Shawn Foster

Age 18

South Bend, Indiana

Son will live without his father

He was a funny, artistically talented, outgoing, friendly man who enjoyed spending time with his 2-year-old son.

He enjoyed playing basketball and was a talented graffiti artist who was deeply loved by his family. “Finding my little cousin laid out in the grass – it really, it really, hurt me,” a family member said. “He was a good kid.”

On May 22, 2018, LaMar De’Shawn Foster, 18, was shot in what the police considered a domestic violence case. No one was charged with his death.

By Imani Beckett · Age 16
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Jesus G. Reyes

Age 15

Kansas City, Missouri

Skateboarder inspired others with his art

He could regularly be found at the local skate park, with orange Cheetos dust on the corners of his mouth. Despite only being 15, he inspired other kids to skate, and many friends believed his dream of going pro could be realized.

He was called “Lil Jesus.” Many of his other family and friends called him “Boots,” his features mirroring Dora the Explorer’s iconic sidekick. He also made a name for himself as Rezr, expressing his identity through graffiti art.

On April 16, 2018, Jesus Reyes was shot and killed at the intersection of Truman Road and Hardesty Avenue in Kansas City, Missouri. His family raised more than $4,000 for his funeral.

By Sophia Levin · Age 15
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Jaden Christopher Salois

Age 18

Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Loved rap, then his song ended

His went by the nickname “JSlice.” He enjoyed the thrill of horror movies, especially the “Halloween” series. “BoJack Horseman” and the comedy of “Key and Peele” were also among his favorites.

He lived in Dalton, Massachusetts, and attended Pittsfield High School. He rooted for the  Brooklyn Nets, Chicago Bulls and the New England Patriots. He loved Lil Wayne, 2Pac and Kendrick Lamar.

On Jan. 20, 2019, police responded to a call in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and arrived to find 18-year-old Jaden Christopher Salois dead from a gunshot wound to the torso.

By Sophia McDermott-Hughes · Age 18
Meet the Reporters

More than 30 artists

Lia Lin Collier

A light, “unrelenting joy” extinguished

Peyton Nicole Hurt

Still helping others, even in death

Ricky Ryon Willis III

YouTuber was destined for great things

James J. Springer III

“The man” who never grew up

Zachary Mulford

Summer job turns into winter grief

Lashonda Sharreice Childs

A beautician who cried for help

Joaquin Oliver

A poet silenced, a brother missed

LaMar De’Shawn Foster

Son will live without his father

Jesus G. Reyes

Skateboarder inspired others with his art

Jaden Christopher Salois

Loved rap, then his song ended

Jamie Marie Kernop

Loved her Polaroid camera, sunsets, and sunflowers

Andy Kim

Fourth-grader with an artistic, gentle spirit

Fermin Alonso-Alonso Jr.

No more beautiful things to make

Shana Lorraine Fisher

16 for only a few days

Aric Whaley

He helped his neighbors shovel snow

Londyn Faith Strawn

Gymnast, artist, proud owner of Buttercup

Jordan Anthony Coleman

Recent grad with a passion for art

Rickey J. Nelson

Wanted to be a role model

Dijonae Amaya White

She made art and beautiful things

Imajea Holmes

The beautiful girl from Enchanted Lane