Hundreds of people gathered Tuesday night in Lawrence, Massachusetts, to remember a teenager who was brutally killed – allegedly at the hands of a classmate.
The candlelight vigil, near the Lawrence Police Department, was held for 16-year-old Lee Viloria-Paulino, whose brutally mutilated body was found last Thursday by a woman walking along the Merrimack River.
The emotional event brought together family and friends, as well as classmates and complete strangers who are all trying to come to terms with the senseless death.
“I’m happy. Lee would be happy as well because it shows people love him, care about him, even those who don’t know him — supporting,” said friend Celinette Vaoentin.
Police have charged Viloria-Paulino’s classmate, 15-year-old Mathew Borges, with first-degree murder. The sophomores attended Lawrence High School together.
Students who attended the vigil still say they are still in shock that Borges could be accused of such a horrific crime.
“That was so hard to hear. It was scary to know someone walks the same hall as you is accused killing one of your closest friends,” said friend Dakota Melendez.
While mourners gathered at the vigil holding each other and cried, some told necn that they knew their friend would have wanted there to be peace.
“The fact he was so young, so sweet, his family was so close united, you can tell how much they loved him,” said Cristina Pimenteo, who attended the vigil.