Ceremony Held, Balloons Released In Memory of Lamar High School Student

Ja'Shawn Poirier, 16, was killed on March 20 in a shooting outside Lamar High School

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Several dozen students and families gathered in the gymnasium of Lamar High School on Friday for a special ceremony in memory of a student killed last month.

Friday marked what would have been Ja’Shawn Poirier’s 17th birthday. Poirier was killed on March 20 after he was shot outside Lamar High School before classes started.

“It doesn’t feel right. It’s off. He’s missing when he’s supposed to be here,” his mother Rashone Jacob said Friday.

According to Arlington Police, Poirier was sitting on the steps at Lamar High School when another student walked up and pulled out a shotgun before shooting. The 15-year-old suspect was detained and taken into custody.

Poirier’s older sister Nautica Jacob dropped him off at school that morning. Jacob recalled getting home about 10 minutes later before she got the call that he had been shot.

“It’s been very hard for me. I have not been able to sleep,” she said. “I never really knew how other people’s pain felt when it happened to them until it happened to me. Like, now I actually understand their pain and how they feel. Now I can relate.”

Lamar High School principal Andy Hagman recalled rushing to the teen.

“When you hear that shots were fired on the east side of the school, it’s stunning. But you quickly move into action. From there, it was just a race,” Hagman recalled. “To see one of your kids in what was very clearly a life or death situation was just unreal, but you just fall into action.”

Part of the ceremony Friday included a balloon release for Poirier. The crowd wished him a happy birthday as green balloons filled the sky.

Kim Cardwell, the mother of a Lamar High School senior, did not know Poirier’s family prior to the March 20 shooting. Cardwell held onto her son Dalton during the ceremony and said she felt the need to attend to show support as a parent.

“Could have been any one of us,” Cardwell said. “Such sadness for her [Jacob] That she won’t have her son anymore.”

A motive for the shooting has not been released.

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