ELIZABETHTOWN, Pa. (WHTM) – Sunday, family and friends of Blake Shearer held a vigil for people healing form loss. It’s been about a year since the teenager was fatally beaten at Elizabethtown Borough Park.
People shared smiles and tears as they remembered 16-year-old Shearer. They lit candles, prayed and sang in his honor.
“It really touches my heart that there’s this many people here,” said Brooke Hook, Shearer’s mom.
“Just be there,” said Stacie Wagner, a family friend. “Just be a support. Just be kind.”
Witnesses told police 24-year-old David Skalla struck Shearer on the head because he was playing music.
In June, Skalla pleaded guilty to a felony county of aggravated assault and a misdemeanor count of involuntary manslaughter.
He will serve 8-16 years.
Sunday night, Shearer’s loved ones and classmates wore shirts saying, ‘Keepin’ the Beat for Blake,’ to honor his love for music.
“No matter how you lost someone, it’s okay no to be okay,” said Hook. “There’s a whole community behind you. If you need help, turn to them.”
Shearer’s family wanted to open up the vigil as a way to support all community members who have experienced loss.
Local pastor Nick Ressler lost two baby daughters to medical conditions.
“Grief is a journey that we all have to walk but it is not one that we have to walk by ourselves,” said Ressler.
Shearer’s light is shining bright.
“We remember him as being a jokester,” said Hook. “His friends were important but so was his family life.”
Shearer would have been a senior in high school this year.
His family hopes to make the vigil an annual event.