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'He didn't deserve that': Community honors brave 16-year-old who sacrificed his life to save his friend

Posted at 7:05 AM, May 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-05 05:42:50-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Friends, family, and students gathered at Fort Myers High School for A candlelight ceremony in honor of the 16-year-old, who jumped in front of a bullet to save his friend.

Police stated that De'mari Jackson was an innocent bystander, who was killed last Sunday in Fort Myers Southward Village.

De'mari's freshman football coach, Renal Augustine, described De'mari as fearless and someone who always puts others before himself. Coach Augustine added that when he learned that De'mari died by giving his own life to save another, he said that's exactly the type of young man De'mari was.

"He was always looking out for somebody else. I think that is where part of his fearlessness came from. He was always concerned about others," Coach Augustine said. "And ultimately that is… unfortunately it’s fitting.”

Coach Augustine added that how De'mari was on the field was exactly how he was off the field, always thinking of "we" before "me."

Bravery isn't the only way De'Mari is remembered.

"He was one of the first people that were uplifting to me," said Isabella Delrosa. "We would joke around a lot and he would always tap my shoulder and smile at me.”

Michelle Sosa and Isabella Delrosa have been friends with De'mari since middle school. Both say they are going to miss the jokes and laughs they shared.

"He was such a nice kid, and I just didn’t think that would happen to him," Sosa said. "He didn’t deserve that.”

More than 100 people came out to the high school to pay tribute to the young man who risked his life for a friend.