Vigil for two middle school students killed by gun violence

GREENSBURG, Ind. (WISH) – Hundreds of people gathered in Greensburg Friday night to light candles in honor of  two middle school students killed within a few weeks of each other.

“The night everything happened was terrible,” Benita Jones is talking about Tuesday night.

Her grandson, 13-year-old Craig Roberts was killed when a sibling accidentally shot him.

“I’m so glad for this, very glad that they’re remembering him,” Jones told 24-Hour News 8 Friday night.

Friday, in front of the courthouse in Greensburg, the town also mourned 14-year-old Tyler Hall, a classmate of Craig’s.  Tyler’s father shot and killed him a few weeks ago. Classmates passed a microphone around and said what they remembered about their friends.

“They were smart kind caring. At least they’re in a better place now,” said one student.

Two tragedies too soon.

Fellow Greensburg Middle School students and friends and family were there.  They hugged and held signs and candles. All were trying to wrap their minds around the loss.

One friend, who said she’d known Craig her whole life, said, “I hope Craig is up there smiling and having a good time with Tyler. I just love you all.”

While she clutched a picture of Craig, his grandmother said of the funeral, “Monday’s going to be very hard when all the kids are there from school -our last goodbye, it’s going to be very hard.”

Craig’s mom got up and spoke, getting choked up as she read her son’s favorite poem, “Desiderata” by Max Ehrmann.

At one point she got choked up when the poet said “be at peace with God, whatever you conceive him to be.”

As she talked about the disappointment she had for what Craig wouldn’t get to do, like have his first day of high school, there was a brief moment of light and laughter.

“I was really heartbroken that I thought he never got to kiss a girl,” she said. “But I did find out he got his first kiss and that gave me a little bit of peace within me.”

“He’s been an awesome little grandson,” said Jones, “just awesome and his dad taught him, no matter what you do, do good, and always finish. And he always did.”

Funeral services for Craig Roberts begin at 11 a.m. Monday, March 17, at United Methodist Church.

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