HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Some people walk into a room and command attention.
Twenty-one-year-old Jason “Jay” Hill was one of those people.
He was the John Harris 2017 class president, homecoming king, and an honor roll student — known to randomly show up to school in a full suit and tie.
On Wednesday, he became a victim of gun violence, but the way his life ended is not how he’ll be remembered in Harrisburg.
“He had that personality. If you met him, you liked him. If you didn’t like him, you loved him,” said Cynthia Spencer, Jason’s School of Business and Industry program instructor.
For Jason, the love flowed in both directions. He maintained a 3.9 GPA to stay in the SBI program, hoping to one day become an entrepreneur so he could take care of his family.
“Everybody that knew him knew he was going to be successful one day,” Spencer said.
His short life still had many successes. Rep. Patty Kim (D-Dauphin) remembers judging his 2016 homecoming performance.
“When Jay got up on stage, the crowd went nuts because he was so loved,” Kim said.
He was surrounded by so much love, only to be brought down by hate. It’s sent shockwaves through his community.
“You know how you feel like you can identify people that put themselves in that situation all the time? Jason was just not one of them,” Spencer said.
He spent his life breaking out of the mold. In death, it will be no different.
“All we’re hearing is, ‘he’s a black man who died.’ He was class president. He was on the honor roll,” Kim said.
He was John Harris’ heart, and because it beat so strongly, Spencer hopes his death will be a wakeup call.
“Maybe because he was the person that he was, people in this community will say ‘we have to stop doing this’ because everyone knows, Jason did not deserve that,” Spencer said.
His killer or killers are still at large, but his loved ones won’t give up.
“We need to make sure that justice is played out, and if people know anything, they need to speak up,” Kim said.
“He could have been that person that changed the landscape in Harrisburg,” Spencer said.