Candlelight vigil Wednesday night for Fort Myers teenager slain saving girlfriend from gunfire

Reporter: Asha Patel Writer: Joey Pellegrino
Published: Updated:
Ciara Lopez survived a shooting in Fort Myers after De’mari Jackson pushed her out of the way of gunfire. Jackson was struck and died. (CREDIT: Courtesy)

On Wednesday night, students will gather at a candlelight vigil to honor fellow student 16-year-old De’mari Jackson, who was shot and killed protecting his girlfriend.

De’mari was a Fort Myers High School student, which is where the vigil will be held. The shooting happened on Franklin Street in Fort Myers’ Southward Village on April 24 after a fight between teen girls got out of control. Investigators say 19-year-old Syncere Trice opened fire, hitting De’mari, who was rushed to the hospital but did not survive.

It’s a loss that has devastated his loved ones.

“Very respectful, always ‘Ma’am, yes, ma’am,’… it’s just a shame,” said Jennifer Casto, the mother of Ciara Lopez, De’mari’s girlfriend. “I wish he survived so I can shake his hand and thank him and ask him why he would jump in a bullet for my daughter who he only knew for 2 years. His family must be going through a lot right now because of it.”

“It still hurts me, I still dream about it, I wake up crying at nighttime; that day… it was supposed to be a happy day and got very sad at the end,” Ciara said. “If you’re sad, he [would] make you happy, like, he’s that type of person.”

“If you knew him, he was so bubbly,” Casto said. “He was so happy all the time, big smile. Every time he came into the room or near somebody, [it] was like you’ll feel a different presence.”

The candlelight vigil is set to begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Greenwave Cafeteria courtyard at Fort Myers High School, located at 2635 Cortez Blvd. The event is intended for students and not the general public. Students who come are encouraged to wear green.

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