Friends and family gathered Sunday night at Easton Presbyterian Church to mourn two young people who were killed Friday night in a shooting at a house party near Easton.
Kayla DeBorde, 19, and William Harris, 17, were killed when a brawl broke out and shots were fired at a birthday party at a home in the 7200 block of Orange Avenue around 11:40 p.m. One other person was taken to the hospital for non-lethal injuries. DeBorde leaves behind a 17 month-old baby, a relative said.
Over 100 people gathered inside the church for the vigil. Many shared notes on post cards and lit candles in memory of the two.
Teresa Beukers organized the vigil so that the two would not be forgotten.
“I challenge you to remember Will and Kayla, Will’s wonderful laugh and Kayla’s beautiful smile,” Beukers said. “The most important thing is that we continue to love each other, love everyone around us so these things don’t happen anymore.”
Harris had attended the Bible study group that Beukers hosted, and DeBorde was one of the girls Beukers mentored when she went to Washington Union High School in Easton.
The most important thing is that we continue to love each other, love everyone around us so these things don’t happen anymore.
Teresa Beukers, who organized the Easton vigil
“She was a wonderful person, a wonderful mother, hard-working, independent,” DeBorde’s step-grandmother, Cassie DeBorde, said. “She was like sunshine.”
DeBorde said the violence was senseless, and indicative of a larger, more complex social issue.
“There’s violence everywhere, you can’t pinpoint it to one area. It’s here, it’s in Fresno, it’s in L.A. and it comes to this kind of stuff. It doesn’t have any denomination, any specific place. Somehow or another, we have to teach our kids something different,” she said.
Young people, she added, “seem lost and left behind, and they try and find a make-believe family, and these make-believe families are killing them.”
Lt. Jose Diaz of the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office also attended the vigil, and urged anyone who had attended the party that night to share any information they might have with investigators.
“We’re trying to figure out who was at the party, we know kids talk through social media, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and it’s out there,” Diaz told the gathering. “What we’re looking for is people who were at the party who may have information that can help this investigation along. We encourage anyone with information to come forward, so we can help these families with this terrible tragedy.”
Megan Ginise: 559-441-6614