Friends and family of Marquel Ellis Jr. gathered outside the teenager's high school in his memory on Saturday morning, one week after his life was cut short.
"Everybody loves him. There's people that couldn't make it here today for whatever reason, but the lives he touched and the people he's changed, that's what this is about," his friend Liam Thorton said. "He [Ellis] was a great kid. He was always smiling. He was always trying to dance, trying to have fun. He was always just goofy."
Ellis, 16, was shot and killed at a party in Plano last weekend, according to police. The shooting occurred after a group of people were asked to leave the party, then allegedly returned and fired into the home in the 3200 block of Peachtree Lane. Since then, two people have been arrested in connection to the shooting.
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After a prayer, balloons were released outside the school at a vigil for Ellis on Saturday. His father, Marquel Ellis Sr., said his son's smile was on his mind as balloons filled the Allen sky.
"We've had the greatest outpouring of help and support that I could ever ask for. Allen has been great to my family, and as a community, they've all stepped up in the time of need," Ellis said. "I believe he's happy as well, so I just want to tell everyone thank you. I appreciate everyone's concern. I just appreciate just receiving him as he was."
Ellis' uncle Lawrence Ellis attended Allen High School's football game Friday night at AT&T Stadium, where his nephew's teammates carried his jersey as they ran onto the field.
"Not seeing him last night and thinking about we were getting ready, saying we need to start saving to go to every game for college and now that's not going to happen. Those were the things that were thought of last night," Ellis said. "He listened. He tried to be the best he could be, but he also wanted other people to be great. That was what I loved. He was humble. He wasn't arrogant. He was silly. He was a good kid. He was probably what you would want your son to be."
Cherished memories are what Ellis' siblings said they hold on to, as they grieve and move towards healing.
"Every time when we leave, he would always be late and waking up late. I would always be like, 'You need to hurry up,' or 'I'm going to leave you. I'm going to call my daddy,'" his older sister Jadasia Bailey joked. "He would always be like, 'I'm coming, I'm coming!' So that's one that's going to stick with me, every morning when I wake up."
Ellis' aunt Josephine Maduagwu said while their family knew how special her nephew was to them, the outpouring of support over the past week has made it clear that he made an impact on the community.
"It's beautiful to allow his voice to be still heard in a different way," Maduagwu said. "Hopefully, some awareness of some kind will come out of this because gun violence, it's taking our babies."
Ellis' wake will be held at One Community Church in Plano on Sunday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. His funeral is on Monday at 11 a.m.