MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- A vigil was held Monday evening, May 27th in honor of 16-year-old Marvin Cottrell Jr., who was shot and killed during a disturbance at an apartment complex near 25th and Glendale one week ago.
Friends say Cottrell Jr. was trying to break up a fight between two women when a group of guys began shooting.
"We need to be more involved with these kids' lives. We need to dig deep into what they are doing. God took an angel to watch over all of us and bring us all together," Cottrell Jr.'s mother, Yolanda Hayes said.
Upwards of 100 people stood in a light drizzle in a circle around candles spelling Cottrell's initials.
"He's a hero at this point. He tried to save somebody's life and now he's being honored in this way. We want them to stay children as long as they possibly can, so they can see adulthood," Cottrell Jr.'s aunt, Tenora Cottrell Pitts said.
Kesha Brown says she treated Cottrell Jr. like a son.
"He called me 'Momma.' He had called me and asked if I could pick him up and if he could spend the night because he didn't have nowhere to go, because his mama was trippin' on him," Brown said.
Brown says she always had her door open for Cottrell Jr. because she wanted to help him stay focused on school, as he was a student at the Career Youth Development School in Milwaukee.
“He wanted to graduate school and I told him, 'go to college when you done so life don't be so hard,'" Brown said.
"He had goals he wanted to complete, but all that's done now," Cottrell Jr.'s uncle, Morris Cottrell said.
Morris Cottrell got the news around 4:00 a.m. Monday that his nephew had been killed.
“That put a void in my life right now. That’s one less nephew I have to talk to," Morris Cottrell said.
Amarion Brown, Cottrell Jr.'s close friend was with him as shots rang out.
"This all actually started over a female vs. female break up. We trying to break two females up from fighting. And my friend get killed? Come on," Brown said.
Brown says the shots were fired at both he and Cottrell Jr.
"They was just saying, he shot. I didn't even know he was shot. When I walked over there in the field he was laying on the ground with a bullet in his head," Kesha Brown said.
Now, Brown can only wonder why this happened to a young man she loved like a son.
"I just feel like that's not fair. A lot of these kids need to put them guns down and pick up a book because what sense does it make killing each other?" Brown said.
CYD School released a statement to FOX6 News. It reads, in part: "Career Youth Development, Inc. is saddened by the untimely death of our student and classmate Marvin Cottrell, Jr. who was shot and killed early Monday morning on 24th & Glendale while attempting to break up a fight.
The fact that we have lost another valuable life to gun violence suggests that we have so much more work to do in terms of changing the culture of how we resolve conflict in our community. Marvin’s life was stolen from him, his family and this community. All of the potential embodied in his person, will now forever be lost and unrealized. Another piece of our community’s fabric has been ripped. We must, as a community, do more to promote peace and to discourage the use of gun violence by all means. Marvin’s untimely death was totally preventable as there were other options available for resolving whatever the root cause of the conflict might have been. CYD will continue helping our students and clients identify non violent means for resolving conflict."
The school has planned an event for June 19th to raise awareness about violence in the community.