GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Candles were lit, songs sung, and prayers prayed to remember the life of Ray Howze Tuesday night in Gulfport. Howze was shot multiple times in the parking lot of M&S Convenience store in Gaston Point, before the gunman stole his car, and drove away. The suspected assailant was later caught in Lordsburg, New Mexico.
"We grew up together. He was a good guy. He didn't bother nobody," Courtney Moody said of Howze.
The vigil was held in a vacant lot just feet from where Howze was shot and killed over the weekend. Friends of the victim are still in disbelief.
"I'm hurt, down man. We was all close. I'm telling you man, we were like this together, through school and all," said Kendrick Casey.
Those who spoke at the vigil reminded the crowd to pray for both the victim's family and the family of the suspect.
"He taught us to love one another. You see these babies right here, they in the midst of it. But the fact is if you can't do nothing, you can pray. Ask God to teach you how to pray," said one speaker.
Many tears were shed during the vigil as community leaders called for an end to senseless violence.
"If we can just stick together, it will make a difference. Just don't let his life, don't let it be in vain, don't let it be in vain," said another speaker.
Those who were close to Ray, also known as Lil Ray, will forever remember how often he made them smile.
"He was very funny, everybody knew he was funny. That's all he wanted to do was make people laugh. He didn't have no problems with anybody. Ain't nobody have any problems with him," said Casey.
While officers in New Mexico were trying to stop the suspected gunman, D'Juan Holloway, they say he fired several shots at them. We're told an officer fired back, hitting Holloway. He's currently in stable condition at a hospital in El Paso, Texas.