Community honors 12-year-old Edward McKenzie Jr. before funeral

Published: Oct. 16, 2020 at 10:40 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - It’s been nearly a week since 12-year-old Edward McKenzie Jr. was shot and killed at his home in Aiken. On Friday his family, friends, and teachers gathered together to honor him.

“We loved ourselves some Edward.”

Through tears, the family of Edward returned to their home today to celebrate the life lost too soon. He was killed at the home on October 10.

“An innocent life is gone, and it’s just, it’s just not right,” Paige Brighthop, Edward’s teacher, said. “He just celebrated his birthday Thursday. That was my last time seeing him. And he’s gone...”

Quiet, yet outgoing, his teachers say he was a joy to have.

“Edward might have been quiet and reserved at times, but he had a really big heart. And he was very much concerned about the people around him. Sometimes even more than himself,” Brighthop said.

He was smart, but his coach says P.E. was his favorite class.

“Edward brought so much to life into the classroom. He was one that was determined, even though his size and his asthma, he was determined to do everything you asked him to do,” Betty Edwards, the coach, said. “And he had that mean streak and don’t get me wrong, Edward had that mean streak and he was a person that loved to win.”

And Edward could make you laugh as well.

“I can remember I took him to a South Carolina state game. And we stopped at McDonald’s and I said, ‘Edward I want to get you a happy meal before we get there’ and then we would get something later, he said, ‘A happy meal? I don’t need one happy meal. I need two happy meals. That’s not gonna do nothing for me.’ And that was the kind of person Edward was,” Edwards said.

Through this heartbreaking loss, they hope something changes.

“We really have to come to the conclusion that you know, we are truly done dying, and once we decide that we’re done dying, then we really have to figure out how we’re going to begin to live,” Eugene White, NAACP of Aiken County President, said.

Edward’s funeral service will be held on Sunday, October 18 in Aiken.

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