A Texas teen celebrating his high school graduation was shot and killed early Sunday morning just hours after walking across the stage.
According to Fox 4 News, friends and family are still grappling with the sudden loss of LeDajrick Cox, who had been named prom king at Dallas’ Carter High School, as well as homecoming king, most popular, best looking and best all around. He was a wide receiver on the school’s football team.
“He just wanted to do the right thing, wanted to achieve, just tried so hard,” LeDajrick’s father, Reginald Henry, told the news station, “I was real proud of him.”
According to Irving, Texas, police, Cox was out with four friends celebrating his graduation Saturday night into Sunday morning. At around 1:45 a.m. Sunday, the group pulled into a 7-Eleven when a girl in their group was catcalled by three other men in a white Kia Optima. The guys in Cox’s group attempted to come to her defense, and an argument ensued. Cox, police say, apparently tried to defuse the situation.
“Knowing him, he was trying to talk his way out of the situation,” his father said.
Eventually, Cox and his friends decided to move on and drove off. However, the occupants of the white Kia Optima decided to follow them. The vehicle pulled up next to them and someone started to fire shots. Three of the boys—including Cox—were hit. Cox was struck in his head and side and died hours later at Parkland Hospital. The two other boys are recovering from their injuries.
“You know, he was my only son. That was it. He has siblings and they look up to him, and they were just so happy for him just to see him happy,” said Cox’s father. “It’s just over. It feels like a part of me is just hurt.”
According to the Dallas Morning News, Cox had signed in February with Navarro College in Coriscana. The football team tweeted its condolences to Cox’s family.
The Morning News notes that detailed descriptions of the suspects in the white car were not provided, but police did release photos of one man they were seeking in connection with the incident.
On Monday night, hundreds turned out for a vigil in Cox’s honor, bringing candles, red balloons and other memories of their slain classmate.
One student, Joshua Reese, told KDFW that Cox had given him a pair of Nike Jordans in the cafeteria after he was bullied for only having one pair of worn shoes.
“He really saved my life. He knew everything I had going on, he knew I was poor, he knew I didn’t have a dime, he knew I didn’t have anything,” Reese told the Morning News. “I cried because nobody has ever done that for me before.”
Read more at Fox 4 News and the Dallas Morning News.