Hundreds gather in Kalamazoo to honor five teens killed in weekend crash
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Hundreds of people gathered in Kalamazoo Wednesday to honor the lives of five teenagers killed in a fiery crash over the weekend, and lift their families up in prayer.
Community leaders and victims' families also attended the service at Mount Zion Baptist Church Wednesday night.
It was standing room only at Mount Zion Baptist Church in Kalamazoo this evening.
The mother of Elexus Hillsman--one of the teens killed in the crash--hopes community support continues in the weeks to come.
Hand-in-hand, the Kalamazoo community came together in support of five families who lost children in a horrific car crash.
The prayers and passion meant a lot to Patrice Hillsman, the mother of 16-year-old Elexus Hillsman, a passenger in the car that crashed.
"It's awesome to know that even though it had to be for a tragic moment, that the community really stepped up and came out and supported our families," she said.
Hillsman says faith has kept her strong during the few short days after her daughters death. She remembers Elexus as the life of the party.
"She was outgoing. She was driven. She had ambition...she graduated a whole year early she was getting ready to start KVCC," Patrice said.
The other victims in this crash have been identified as 16-year-old Cortavian Murphy, 15-year-old Jaquarius Hegler, 17-year-old Deztanee Cobb, and 15-year-old Marshawn Williams.
Several community leaders attended the service in honor of the victims, including Kalamazoo County Sheriff Richard Fuller.
"What's great about what's happening here tonight is that a community is trying to heal. Big crowd. And I'd like to see more people out to honor the people lost in this tragedy," he said.
Patrice Hillsman hopes community support will help her honor the life of her child.
"I'm sad, I'm hurt. My soul hurts. But at the end of the day, the Lord is my shepard and I shall not want," she said.
We're told separate funerals will be held for each of the victims in this crash.
Kalamazoo Public Schools as well as several community groups are providing grief counselors for students in need.