DORCHESTER, Mass. (WHDH) — Jeremiah Burke High School’s Class of 2016 graduated Friday in a somber ceremony held days after a student was shot and killed.
Raekwon Brown, 17, was shot and killed Wednesday outside the school. The gunman is still on the run.
At Friday’s commencement, a moment of silence was held for Brown, who was a junior at the school. Mayor Marty Walsh then addressed the graduates.
“You’re sad, you’re angry, you’re upset, you have every right to be because I am as well,” said Walsh. “It is sad that a young man’s life has been cut short. His loved ones will always feel that hurt.”
Walsh said he wanted to make sure that the tragedy would not overshadow the graduates’ accomplishments. Burke is the only school in the state to raise up out of “turnaround” status. He congratulated the Class of 2016 and told them they have the potential to change the city and the world for the better.
“This school is a beacon of light in our city and our country,” said Walsh. “And on graduation day, you are the brightest lights of all, all 121 of you sitting in front of me tonight.”
Two other teens and a woman were also shot Wednesday and are expected to be OK. The 67-year-old woman grazed by a bullet in the shooting told 7News that Brown is a hero. Living in fear, the woman, who has injuries to her leg and backside, explained how the gunfire erupted and Brown, who she did not know, jumped up and threw her to the ground.
“I’m 67, he was just 17,” she said.
Dr. Linda McIntyre, the school’s headmaster, said Brown came to the school as struggling middle schooler but quickly turned into a top high school student.
“He left us with great grades, great potential and strong character,” said McIntyre.
“He was a good kid. He went to school everyday. He’s not a gang member,” said Brown’s mother, Wanda Graddy.
Boston Police Commissioner William Evans was frustrated as he said the police need help finding the suspect and they are not getting any.
“Enough with this stop snitching stuff,” said Evans. “We’ve got a mother who lost her 17-year-old child. Step forward, have some courage and solve this one.”
The high school community has created a fundraising campaign to help Brown’s family members. To donate, click here.
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