Family of JaQari Toney struggling to understand why he died too soon

Family of JaQari Toney struggling to understand why he died too soon
Students were notified of Jaqari's death at school. (Photo source: Facebook)
Students were notified of Jaqari's death at school. (Photo source: Facebook)

MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) - JaQari Toney went by many names. If not JaQari, he was JT or Big Toney.

But for nearly everyone, he was the guy with a joy for life.

"My baby was a very, very loving person," said his mother, Shemeka Bradley. "He always made you laugh every time you came around. He would always crack jokes, he was a dancing machine. He likes to dance. He was just fun to be around."

JaQari died Thursday morning after a brief bout with pneumonia. The family says a blood clot in his lung caused his heart to stop.

Bradley couldn't believe the news from the doctor.

"I looked at him and said, 'Are you telling me my son is dead?' And he touched me on the shoulder and he shook his head and from there. I wasn't no good. I was out of mind yesterday. But today I just ask the Lord to give me strength, and I'm making it day by day," said Shemeka.

His father, Litteral Toney, is still in shock.

"It's so unreal because when he was in the hospital, I came to see him the same day," said Litteral. "We were talking and laughing, having fun."

JaQari's death also caused a shock wave throughout Moss Point High, where he played football. He loved sports, and wanted to be a sportscaster.

The senior also loved to dress up. For prom, he wanted - and got - a gold suit.

"He thought he was the flyest thing for prom. He wanted to be the fly guy," Bradley said. "Because that was him. He wanted to be dressed from head to toe."

The teen also wanted the best for his little brother, JaQalin Toney.

"My brother told me to play football and pull my grades up," JaQalin said. "And he told me, like, he wanted me to be better than him."

Even in her grief, Bradley has advice for other mothers for Mother's Day, and every day.

"If you've got a child, hug him," Shemeka said. "Tell him you love him, no matter what. Because you never know when the Lord may call him home."

There will be a candlelight vigil at Riverfront Park in Moss Point at 6 p.m. Wednesday. Funeral arrangements are incomplete at this time.

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