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Family, classmates mourn victim of ‘senseless school shooting’ at Arlington Lamar High

Family members, friends and other mourners attended prayer services and a candlelight vigil Tuesday evening for Ja’Shawn Poirier, the student who was fatally shot Monday outside Lamar High School in Arlington.

The first vigil was at a prayer garden at Most Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, at 2100 N. Davis Drive, followed by another service at New World United Methodist Church, at 2201 N. Davis.

“Our hearts are heavy and our thoughts are — well — they’re scary right now for our school children, our teachers, our administration, and our staff,” said Joe Ramos, a deacon at Most Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church. “We are here because we need to be here as a community of faithful believers. We pray for our brothers and sisters that we don’t even know, but nonetheless, they are family. We pray for the soul of the young man who lost his life yesterday in this senseless school shooting.”

Poirier, 16, was shot by a 15-year-old classmate outside of the high school around 7 a.m., before school was supposed to start, according to police. A female victim was also injured.

A man holds a a rosary during prayer at a vigil for Ja’Shawn James Poirier on Tuesday, March 21, 2023, in Arlington. Poirier, 16, was shot by a classmate at Lamar High on Monday, police said.
A man holds a a rosary during prayer at a vigil for Ja’Shawn James Poirier on Tuesday, March 21, 2023, in Arlington. Poirier, 16, was shot by a classmate at Lamar High on Monday, police said.

Poirier was taken to a hospital in critical condition and died less than two hours later from gunshot wounds to the head and chest, according to the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office. The girl, who police said is under 17 years old, suffered a graze injury to her cheek and was treated at a hospital.

Poirier’s mother, Roshone Jacob, and his sister attended Tuesday’s service at New World United Methodist Church. The family moved to North Texas from Michigan eight months ago, Jacob told WFAA-TV.

“My son didn’t deserve this at all,” Jacob said. “He was a nice, sweet, kind boy who just liked to play sports and hang around his friends and family. He didn’t bother nobody.”

“For this to happen to him is devastating,” the mother told WFAA. “I’m still trying to wrap my mind around this situation. Even though I’ve seen him, it’s still like, I’m in disbelief.”

A GoFundMe has been organized for a student, identified by his family as Ja’Shawn Poirier, who died after being shot outside of Lamar High School in Arlington on Monday, March 20, 2023.
A GoFundMe has been organized for a student, identified by his family as Ja’Shawn Poirier, who died after being shot outside of Lamar High School in Arlington on Monday, March 20, 2023.

When she received a call that her son had been shot at school, Jacob “just screamed, broke down and cried.”

“It just doesn’t feel real, because we just dropped him off and not even nine minutes later we got a call saying he’s shot ... what do you mean?” Poirier’s sister, 21-year-old Nautica Jacob, told WFAA.

The victims and suspect were all students at Lamar High School.

“I don’t want to go to school anymore,” said Alina Moguel, a freshman at Lamar High who attended Tuesday’s services. “I thought it was going to be a normal day. Coming back from (spring) break, I was excited to see my friends, my teachers, talk about what we did. I was scared because something like that had never happened. These are things you just see on the news and you don’t expect to happen to you.”

Alina Moguel, 15 and a ninth-grader at Lamar High, poses for a portrait after a vigil for Ja’Shawn James Poirier, 16, a classmate who was killed at school the day before, at a church in Arlington on Tuesday, March 21, 2023. “I don’t want to go to school now,” she said.
Alina Moguel, 15 and a ninth-grader at Lamar High, poses for a portrait after a vigil for Ja’Shawn James Poirier, 16, a classmate who was killed at school the day before, at a church in Arlington on Tuesday, March 21, 2023. “I don’t want to go to school now,” she said.

Classes were canceled Monday and Tuesday at the high school, and counselors were on campus when students returned Wednesday.

“I feel like it’s not going be the same for us,” said Moguel about going back to school. “We just experienced this and it’s a lot for everyone to take in. Even those who didn’t know (Ja’Shawn) or the people that weren’t at school yet, it’s still a lot.”

The 15-year-old suspect, whose identity is not being released due to his age, was arrested and is facing a charge of capital murder. He is being held at the Tarrant County Juvenile Detention Center.

Police said they believe the suspect was targeting at least one of the victims, who were sitting close to the school steps, but the motive for the shooting remains under investigation.

Melinda Hamilton, founder of Mothers of Murdered Angels, comforts Shaniqua Williams outside of a vigil for her cousin, Ja’Shawn James Poirier, at a church in Arlington on Tuesday, March 21, 2023. Poirier, 16, was shot by a classmate before school at Lamar High on Monday, authorities said.
Melinda Hamilton, founder of Mothers of Murdered Angels, comforts Shaniqua Williams outside of a vigil for her cousin, Ja’Shawn James Poirier, at a church in Arlington on Tuesday, March 21, 2023. Poirier, 16, was shot by a classmate before school at Lamar High on Monday, authorities said.

“It’s very hurtful every time you hear something like this,” said Melinda Hamilton, the founder of Mothers of Murdered Angels. “We gotta do something better. We are going to have to go to the schools and talk to the students because back in the days we fought with our fists — we didn’t fight with guns.”

A GoFundMe account was organized by a cousin of Poirier, Na’Jai Jacob, looking to raise $15,000 for funeral expenses. As of Wednesday morning, the GoFundMe had raised more than $20,000.

Suzette Chaires attends a vigil for Ja’Shawn James Poirier, on Tuesday, March 21, 2023, in Arlington. Poirier, 16, was shot by a classmate at Lamar High on Monday, authorities said.
Suzette Chaires attends a vigil for Ja’Shawn James Poirier, on Tuesday, March 21, 2023, in Arlington. Poirier, 16, was shot by a classmate at Lamar High on Monday, authorities said.
Alexandra Montoya, 4, plays with a rosary while dozens of folks pray during a vigil for Ja’Shawn James Poirier on Tuesday, March 21, 2023, in Arlington. Poirier, 16, was shot by a classmate at Lamar High on Monday, police said.
Alexandra Montoya, 4, plays with a rosary while dozens of folks pray during a vigil for Ja’Shawn James Poirier on Tuesday, March 21, 2023, in Arlington. Poirier, 16, was shot by a classmate at Lamar High on Monday, police said.
Alina Nieves, Josey Magana and Lamar High student Alina Moguel, 15, attend a vigil for Ja’Shawn James Poirier on Tuesday, March 21, 2023, in Arlington. Poirier, 16, was fatally shot at Lamar High on Monday.
Alina Nieves, Josey Magana and Lamar High student Alina Moguel, 15, attend a vigil for Ja’Shawn James Poirier on Tuesday, March 21, 2023, in Arlington. Poirier, 16, was fatally shot at Lamar High on Monday.