BATON ROUGE (WVUE) - Monday night, students at Southern University remembered Marquise Jones as the New Orleans Police Department searched for his killer.
The Orleans Parish Coroner ruled Jones’ death a homicide saying he was shot before his body was found in Lake Pontchartrain Thursday.
Jones was last seen leaving a party in Gentilly on February 26. He was reported missing by his mother after he failed to show up to his uncle’s funeral the next day.
Family members who traveled from Slidell to Baton Rouge for the vigil say the support they have received reinforces something for them that they already knew. He was loved.
“Something life-transforming has happened to us. Ordinary words fail us, yet, it is impossible to remain mute,” said one speaker at the Monday night’s vigil.
The shock of Marquise’s death is palpable on the Southern University campus.
“I truly don’t understand what’s going on and maybe it’s not meant for us to understand but I just want everyone to know he was a great person,” says Hayley Weslesy.
Heads bowed in silence and small flames flickered in the wind as they honored Jones in front of the nursing school where he was a student and a bright light to all that knew him.
“Every time I saw Marquise, he was very outgoing. A big spirit never seems down. Always up. So knowing that this happened to him is very weird,” says Carlos Brister.
It was a struggle for those at the school to try and wrap their heads around what happened but it’s a pain his family had only begun to try and understand.
“It’s just feeling real. My brother is gone. For me to imagine life without him is sickening,” says Simona Jones, Marquise’s sister.
She holds on to the ways he used to make her laugh.
“Today was my birthday and I was expecting a call. Alright, big Mo. It’s time to quit. Ain’t you grown.”
Those who watched him grow up are now at a loss when it comes to imagining the future.
“It’s heartbreaking that I’m going to have to go through life because we had plans. We had plans man,” says Marquise’s cousin.
Governor John Bel Edwards issued an official honor in Jones’ name as his mother watched on from a Facetime call.
“As you could see, Marquise was loved. Everybody he touched fell in love. He was the best. They took the best from me,” says Marquise’s mother Erica Jones.
His family is asking anyone with any information to step forward and call NOPD or Crimestoppers at (504) 822-1111.
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