News 12 @ 11 o'clock / Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014
AUGUSTA, Ga (WRDW) -- Friends and family have a lot of unanswered questions almost two weeks after the death of 17-year-old Recardell Sheppard.
Sheppard, known as CJ by friends and family, died suddenly after playing a pick-up basketball game at Josey High School. CJ collapsed during the game, he was later pronounced dead at GRU. The results of CJ's autopsy have not been released yet, but the coroner's office says heart failure is common in student athletes and could be the cause.
Saturday, friends and family gathered to say goodbye to their friend and classmate. Josey High School classmates, basketball teammates, teachers, and folks from all over the community shared their loss. The one thing everyone said about CJ, he is gone, but will never be forgotten.
"C.J. Was a model student. He was a model person. He was a model athlete," said Josey High School Principal Dr. Isaac Lee.
Something Sheppard's basketball teammate, Katuan Nottage agrees with.
"He told us, we have to stick together. As a team, we're more than a team, we're brothers. And ever since that day C.J. Has really been a brother to me," Nottage said.
Sheppard's fiance, Tykia Jones also shared her feelings on Saturday.
"I just want to say if you love someone, hold on to them. Because you never know when that last day will come," she said.
The funeral also gave the city a chance to give back to Sheppard. Josey High School Principal, Dr. Isaac Lee was able to present Shappard's family with a plaque from the Mayors office.
"The city of Augusta, Georgia declares October 25, 2014 as a day to celebrate the life of Recardell Sheppard," Lee said.
Some of the other guests who were able to share at the late Josey basketball player's funeral included NFL Superbowl Champion and former Josey High student, Deon Grant, and teacher Dr. Lori Myles. Myles was able to read some of the goals Sheppard had made himself before his passing. His number one goal, to graduate high school, something Myles promises to make happen.
Another speaker was another former Josey High School student, Jerry Harvey Sr. He spoke to everyone about the teen, and his impact on the community.
"For all ya'll wondering where is C.J.? You know he went to Josey, and all eagles have to fly," he said.
The school has not released the time line of what happened the day C.J. died yet. The final autopsy report from the GBI could take up to six months to finish.