A Texas church is mourning the death of 15-year-old, Jamie Gonzalez, who was killed by police earlier this week.
Rev. Jorge Gomez, of Holy Family Catholic Church, said that just days before he died, young Gonzalez stopped by his church and gave him money to buy candy for children in Mexico, according to MSNBC. He said it was the last time he and Gonzalez shared hugs and smiles.
"He was always thinking about children," Gomez told MSNBC. "Jamie was friendly and kind."
Rev. Gomez says he is now trying to counsel Gonzalez's family, friends and those in the community who mourn his death.
He said that students from Gonzalez's school have been coming to his church, complaining that they cannot sleep or eat since his killing.
"Students want to talk to someone. They say they feel unsafe. They are frightened and they are sad," Gomez said.
Gomez claims Gonzalez was a devoted member of Holy Family Church. His memorial services were held there Friday, where Gonzalez, a drum major, was buried in his band uniform. His parents, Jamie Sr. and Norvala Gomez planned to return to Holy Family later for further support and prayer.
"They are heartbroken," Gomez said.
Jamie Gonzalez was fatally shot in the hallway of his Brownsville, Texas middle school on Wednesday. The early morning shooting happened after police shouted for Gonzalez to drop what appeared to be a gun.
It was later revealed that it was in fact a pellet gun.
Witnesses claim they could hear police rush down the hallway, followed by three gunshots.
The police have defended their actions.
According to the Daily News, Interim Police Chief Orlando Rodriguez said that Gonzalez pointed the pellet gun at police, and had plenty of opportunities to lower the weapon and follow their orders. He said that Gonzalez simply didn’t want to submit to their instructions.
One of the shots fired hit Gonzalez in the back of the head, which is particularly troubling to his father, Jamie Gonzalez Sr. He wonders why such excessive force was used on a minor
“Three shots. Why not one that would bring him down?” he said to AP. “That’s the shot that bothers me the most.”
The Brownsville police department says the incident was sparked by an altercation between Gonzalez and another Cummings Middle School student. They say he walked into his first-period classroom and punched the boy in the face without apparent provocation, according to the Daily News.
Gonzalez then pulled out the black gun, terrifying his classmates and forcing his teachers to lock the doors. Cops arrived on the scene about 20 minutes later and found Gonzalez in the hallway clutching the gun.