Almost two months after an 8-year-old child was killed in what police are calling a murder suicide, family and friends gathered Friday night to celebrate his life.
Clark Reagan was found inside a bedroom suffering from a gunshot wound. Both he and his father died.
Friday night, the community showed a lot of support for Clark Reagan’s loved ones. Friends, family, and community members showed up to his birthday celebration.
There were plenty of reminders about Clark Reagan there. Many wearing his favorite color – blue – and eating his favorite foods.
“We just wanted to be here to celebrate Clark’s life, what it meant to all of us, the way that he loved people and so we want to be here with all of the people who loved him and love on each other,” said Kyna Humphrey, Clark’s mom’s best friend.
It was a birthday celebration in honor of the Maryville boy, happening on the day he would have turned nine years old.
“We wish that he was here obviously but if he can’t be, it’s great that his spirit can live on through all the things we’re doing to remember him, to celebrate him,” said Clark’s uncle, Michael Grider.
For loved ones this day is not an easy one. But they’re focusing on the good and happy memories alongside a community that’s showing its support.
“It makes me remember that there is still so much good in this world that can seem so dark,” Humphrey said.
And a phrase printed on many of the t-shirts in the crowd: “Be the light.” Family and friends say Clark embodied it.
“His life was not extinguished, it was multiplied. We’re all going to carry that forward, we hope that everyone sees it, everyone accepts that challenge and does the same. Let’s all go poke holes in the darkness,” Grider said.
Sales of those “be the light” t shirts go to the Clark Riley Scholarship Fund. That’s for students pursuing degrees in arts. So far, they’ve raised more than $6,000.