‘He cared about people’: Family, community hold prayer vigil for 16-year-old shot and killed in Hartford

Hartford

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — A vigil was held Wednesday in memory of a 16-year-old shot and killed over the weekend in Hartford.

Ja’Mari Preston was shot and killed on Magnolia Street Saturday just two hours after 3-year-old Rondell Jones was hit with gunfire in a drive-by shooting. Rondell died of his injuries. Police now say the shootings were connected but don’t yet have a suspect in custody.

A vigil was held for Rondell earlier this week. Wednesday, Ja’Mari’s family spoke out at a memorial for him.

The family was extremely emotional as they gathered to remember their son and brother. His young life cut short tragically.

Balloons, flowers, and candles were placed at the site where the young man lost his life. Just before 5 p.m. on Saturday, the teen was found in the back of the house with multiple gunshot wounds. He later died of his injuries.

His family now remembering him as a good kid with a bright future who was well-loved by his family and his friends.

“I miss my son so, so much,” his mother, Shana Dixon said. “For somebody to just chase my son down and murder him at 16-years-old. My son was a baby. How could you do that to somebody’s child?”

Janice Williams, Ja’Mari’s great-grandmother told News 8, “Ja’Mari was a wonderful kid. He was loving, he was caring, he cared about people. He’d give you the clothes off his back. He was considerate. He was always happy. Joking. Loving always, saying ‘grandma, I love you.’ Hugging. Telling his siblings how much he loved them. He was a joyful kid.”

Family and friends gathered to support one another through the unimaginable. Ja’Mari’s family hopes someone will come forward with information that leads police to an arrest.

“If you love Ja’Mari, please come forward to help. I’m begging you,” pleaded Kimberly Cooper, Ja’Mari’s aunt.

Until then, the family is left to mourn the loss of a life cut too short while hoping for peace and justice.

“My son was…IS. I’m not going to say ‘was’…IS a legend. And legends never die,” Dixon added.

There is a GoFundMe page to support Ja’Mari’s family through this time. You can find info here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-jamaris-family.

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