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Essien Javon Edokpayi

Age 17

Vacavile, California

Torn away from his loving family

When he was little, he had convinced his brother Ime to cut an arrow in his hair like the character Aang from “Avatar: The Last Airbender.” The enthusiastic anime fan also liked to cook and travel. Ime said the Vacaville High School student was eager, cheerful and always optimistic.

He was planning to celebrate Christmas with his adoptive family. “For me, [he] was not adopted. He was my son born out of love and our combined destiny,” his mother wrote online.

Essien Javon Edokpayi, 17, was allegedly shot by a 39-year-old man after an altercation in Vacaville, California. He died on Christmas Eve in 2018.

By Suan Lee · Age 16
Meet the Reporters

More than 100 jokesters

Natwan Kian Holyfield

Supposed to go to homecoming, prom

Kaiden Vague

Sixteenth birthday. Golden birthday. Last birthday.

Eric Xavier Degori

His jokes could make anyone laugh

Will Earl Davis Jr.

The rising senior was always smiling

Rashiya Melton

Joins brother, leaves behind her twin

Edgar Alan Espino

Jokester loved to make people laugh

Daron Johnson

He went to celebrate another’s life

Jayvone J. Shackelford-Bishop

Friends together like Lilo & Stitch

Deandre Moon

Overnight tragedy for a basketball fan

Terale Claridy-Vaught

‘Solid’ friend barely gets to adulthood

Robert Carranza

He liked to post song lyrics

Amauri Green

Died while fixing a flat tire

Eddie Daiquan Grant

A devoted boyfriend and rap fan

Bryan Portales Escalante

Phone, wallet, shoes and, life — gone

Darion Gordon

Sixteen years erased by one bullet

Steven Alexander Jr.

He missed his first Father’s Day

Jonathan David Freeman Jr.

Debated anything, from music to Deflategate

Matthew James Jurado

Challenging student had a compassionate heart

Ryan J. Dillon

A playful boy, stopped by bullets

Manuel Lopez Jr.

High school senior set to graduate