Hundreds of people filled an entire bleacher stand at a high school athletic complex this morning to remember a teenager killed in his own backyard Tuesday night.
Dejuan Williams graduated from Bayshore High School in Bradenton in June. The 18-year-old was shot after he discovered his younger sister had two boys in the house without permission and confronted one of the teenagers in the backyard, Manatee County deputies said.
Within hours, dozens of people had left messages on his MySpace page, remembering his smile, his sense of humor and his kindness. Williams ran track and his friends called him "Speedy."
"He's the kind of kid you remember 20 years down the road," Williams' coach, Jamaal Sanders, said at this morning's memorial service. "You could tell by the way his fellow students talked that he had an impact on many lives."
A couple dozen students ran a final lap around the track in his honor.
Williams' parents attended the 8:30 a.m. service and were immediately engulfed in hugs and tears. Friends, teachers and other faculty members shared memories.
Some of the most poignant comments are on Williams' MySpace page as well.
"It still hasn't hit me that such a terrible thing could happen to such an amazing guy," wrote Danielle Gordon. "Your smile was contagious and could have the whole room smiling along with you. I don't think you could have even imagined all the people's lives that you have made an impact on."
Two people have been arrested. Byron Galloway, 16, shot Williams, and Adrian Richard, 17, was his accomplice, deputies say. They were charged with aggravated assault, although those charges are likely to be upgraded, deputies say.