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Xavier Montrail Thomas

Age 18

Shreveport, Louisiana

Candles flicker against darkness for Zay

In July 2016, his friend died in a drive-by shooting. Days later, he updated his Facebook cover photo to an image that said, “Long live Eddie Cane.”

Two years later, his name was spelled out in candles, six bright flames. Loved ones sang for the boy nicknamed “Zay.” They held red and white balloons — his favorite colors.

On Nov. 21, 2018, Xavier Montrail Thomas, 18, was found on the porch of a vacant house in Shreveport, Louisiana, with a gunshot wound to the upper body. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

By Allie Kelly · Age 18
Meet the Reporters

More than 200 friends

Saniyah Monee Nicholson

Funny faces and pigtails no longer

Tyrese A. Jones

He was beloved at his school


Shot while walking down the street

Kameron Johnson

He dreamed of college and cars

Kameron Porter

Domestic violence ends a stepson’s life

Jacob Matthew Edwards

A survivor, full of heart. Gone.

Corey Donald II

He had just started barber school

Floyd Chianti Davenport IV

“Baba stay woke...Baba stay woke!”

Kelvion’te A. Trammell

Engine still running, no life left

Clinton Howell

A daily trip that turned deadly

Jayvone J. Shackelford-Bishop

Friends together like Lilo & Stitch

Joel Keshon Green

An interrupted trail of Facebook photos

Fernando Perez

“What is it going to take?”

Delametric Djuan Fairley

Never got to make travel plans

Moltere Charles Jr.

#TGFAD — Thank God for another day

Oliver Santos

Big smile stolen on Saturday night

Darryl Lamar Johnson

A family visit. He never left.

Samuel Ozuna

Always respectful, loved by his friends

Romane D. Taylor Jr.

Intelligent and playful, beloved by buddies

Katrina Marie Casarez

Sweet, musical memories with her boyfriend