ARLINGTON, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) — Football players from Arlington’s Bowie High School wore the number 46 on their jerseys Friday night, in honor of the teammate killed in a shooting near campus.
“We are a family, and when one hurts, we all hurt,” said Lela Sanders, whose son is on the team.
Sanders said she saw Tony Strather, 17, at the school minutes before he was shot.
“He was actually crossing in front of me in the car,” she said.
Her son, she said, is rarely emotional, but his friend’s death has devastated him.
“He at first was very quiet, and then he cried in my arms. It’s very difficult right now,” she said.
Arlington Police say a witness told them Strather was trying to break up a fight a block from the school when someone pulled a gun.
“My grandson lost his life,” said Lawrence Smith.
The family, Smith said, is struggling.
“They’re like any other parents. It’s really tough. When you lose a child to violence, gun violence… Senseless,” he said.
Teammates carried Strather’s jersey onto the field Friday and observed a moment of silence.
“We are absolutely heartbroken to have lost a best friend, loving brother and loyal teammate,” wrote head football coach Danny DeArman before the game. “We are hurting as a Bowie family, and as we grieve as a team, we will take the field tonight and play in honor of Tony.”
Joseph Singleton watched the tributes from the sidelines.
“I looked up to him very much. I was hurt,” he said.
A tenth grader, Singleton skipped school today, at his parents’ request.
He said he was with Strather’s younger brother when they walked up on the crime scene.
“I didn’t know what to say. I was lost. I just saw yellow tap and everybody was speechless,” he said.
Even now, he says, the campus is quieter than usual.
A candlelight vigil will be held Saturday evening at the school starting at 6 o’clock.