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LaVell Whittley Jr.

Age 16

Natchez, Mississippi

Loved his blue and white jersey

Family and friends called him “LJ” to differentiate from his namesake, his father.

Dressed in his blue and white football jersey, he loved being a Natchez Bulldog almost as much as he loved following professional sports. When he wasn’t on the football field, he split his time between playing Madden and attending services at Greater Mount Bethel Baptist Church, where Natchez students would later “come to pay their respects,” according to family friend Sonya King.

On April 6, 2018, paramedics found LaVell “LJ” Whittley Jr., 16, dead on arrival after a likely accidental shooting in a friend’s garage in Natchez, Mississippi.

By Elizabeth Meisenzahl · Age 17
Meet the Reporters

More than 300 athletes

Elisha Amon Cole

Dreaming big, working on his portfolio

Taveon Donte' Brooks

Basketball point guard, would-be rapper

Natwan Kian Holyfield

Supposed to go to homecoming, prom

Orlando Myron Anderson Jr.

He was so full of life

Sharon Castro

She always helped those who struggled

Avi Liam Franco

He loved to learn and explore

Zyhame Kila Jones

An artist, basketball player and car-lover

Kendrick D. Davis

Not quite clear on his dreams

Lorenzo Moore-Vaughn

About to start his senior year

Jeremiah Ascencio

Last moments spent cradling his brother

Vicente Valero III

He was a modern Renaissance man

James Alexzander Shorter

He’ll never taste grandma’s cookies again

Jayden Fondeur

His older brother found him first

Jontae Billups-Brooks

An athlete and a music lover

Ray Glasgow III

Bench wears jersey instead of captain

Ra’Quan Darius Jones

Didn’t get to see his GED

Ta Quan Pinkney

Bright future; gone too soon

Ricky Lamar Green Jr.

His children never saw him box

Jovontia Antonio Jones

A runner grieved by seven siblings

Brandon Nathan Tyson

Friday night lights end in tragedy