Thursday, October 23, 2014

Vigil celebrates life of teen victim

Family, friends and community gathered Thursday evening to remember shooting victim Braxton Barhams.
Posted on June 28, 2013 at 1:00 a.m. | Updated on June 28, 2013 at 9:45 a.m.

ELKHART — Braxton Barhams was an outgoing teen with an infectious smile, friends and family said Thursday, June 27, at a vigil in his memory.

A crowd of friends, family and members of the community braved the rain Thursday evening in the parking lot of Concord High School, where he was a student, to celebrate the 16-year-old’s life and pray for his family and the community.

Vigil organizer Mary Eggleston, whose son was friends with Barhams, sold suckers, decals and bottled water with the proceeds going to Barhams’s family.

Rev. Dr. Dannell Brown, pastor at Agape Missionary Baptist Church, led the gathered crowd in prayer and asked people to share their memories of Braxton.

“We are here to remember ‘Smurf’ and that smile on his face, and to protest what happened to him,” Brown said.

Barhams’s mother, Jeanette Barhams Dancler, thanked the attendees for their support.

“I didn’t know my son had so much love,” she said. “It makes me feel wonderful and it takes away so much pain.”

The most common trait people remembered about Barhams was his smile.

“He had a smile that could light up a room and his laugh was insane,” one teen said.

“I remember when he was a baby he was crazy about Barney,” a woman said. “It was all about Barney.”

“He had his own style, he was a leader and he didn’t try to put himself in a box,” another woman said.

Barhams Dancler said her son was “a very affectionate child.”

“He was sensitive, heartfelt and good-hearted,” she said.

One of his favorite songs was “Love and War” by Tamar Braxton, she added.

His father, Kenneth Barhams, said Braxton was very social.

“He enjoyed people,” he said. “He had to be around people. This would have overwhelmed him. He’d be up front with his little crew. He must get that from his mother.”

Barhams said he remembers carrying a baby Braxton on his shoulders and teaching him to ride a bike and swim, but there’s one memory he won’t make.

“The one thing I wanted was to watch him walk across the stage with his diploma,” he said.

Barhams died on Saturday, June 22, from a single gunshot wound in a drive-by shooting near the corner of Garfield Avenue and Benham Avenue in Elkhart.

Jesus Macedo-Perez, 16, was arrested Sunday, June 23, and charged with Barhams’s murder. Macedo-Perez made his first appearance in Elkhart Circuit Court Thursday.

A celebration of life service for Braxton Barhams will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 29, at Agape Missionary Baptist Church, 248 W. Wolf Avenue, with a viewing beginning at 9 a.m.

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