Loved ones gathered around a sign in 8-year-old Martin Cobb's yard not far from the church he and his family attended in Richmond, Va. "Martin: A real hero lived, fought and died here," the sign read.
Martin died Thursday trying to fight off his 12-year-old sister's attacker, authorities say.
On Saturday a 16-year-old boy, whose name was not released because he is a minor, was charged with murder in the killing of Martin and strangulation in the assault on his sister, the Associated Press reports.
According to neighbors who spoke with AP, Martin was hit in the head with a brick during the attack near his Richmond home Thursday, the Richmond Times Dispatch reports. Authorities wouldn't confirm that a brick was used in the killing, but Richmond Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Mary E. Langer told AP that the boy suffered severe head trauma.
The 12-year-old girl was taken to a hospital after the attack. Family told reporters she was recovering.
"As far as I know, she's doing fine. She's doing better. She's OK," the siblings' aunt Geraldine Pitchford told the Richmond Times Dispatch.
Pitchford described her 8-year-old nephew as warmhearted and friendly and that he was always with his sister, playing around the house. "I'm proud of him. I'm proud that he stuck up for his sister. He did what he was taught," Pitchford told AP.
The Rev. Theodore L. Hughey, pastor of the Abundant Life church, said that "Marty," or "Little Martin," as he was called, and his sister were inseparable. "You saw one. The other was there. They were never apart," Hughey said.
Hundreds of people attended the vigil for Martin Saturday night.
"He had a heart of a lion," neighbor Andrew Patillo told AP. "He stood so tall, to be so small."