SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV)– The Syracuse community showed up in support of a grieving family Tuesday night during a vigil to honor and remember the life of 11-year-old Brexialee Torres-Ortiz. She was gunned down Monday night on her way home from the corner store, carrying a gallon of milk for her family.
Among those in attendance was Henry Zachery, a teacher at STEM at Blodgett Middle School where Brexialee was a sixth grader. Zachery taught her older sister and remembers Brexialee as a bright light in the school.
Brexialee was the sixth-grade class president, Principal Harry Valentin described her as a model student, always on time, kind and respectful.
“She participated in all of the school activities, she was in the dance club,” Principal Valentin said adding that the school day was very hard for everyone.
Counseling services were provided for students throughout the school day Tuesday and Zachery said he spent his class periods creating an open space for students to talk about how they were feeling and share stories. Some students even created posters and cards to send to Brexialee’s family.
A memorial continued to grow Tuesday night with flowers and balloons as the community tries to come to terms with this tragic loss.