MIAMI GARDENS, FLA. (WSVN) - A Miami Gardens community came together to pay tribute to a teenage star athlete whose life was cut short because of gun violence.
7News cameras captured dozens of well-wishers as they released orange and black balloons at Miami Carol City Park to honor Josh Ancrum, Monday afternoon.
Lisa Alvarez, the teen’s mother, said she was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support at her’s son’s memorial.
“It’s amazing. I never thought in a million years that it would be this big, that he touched a lot of people, and I’m happy,” she said.
The mourning mother said she was in awe of how many lives her son touched at such a young age.
“I just thank everybody. It’s just a lot of love. All I can say is thank you,” she said.
The sudden passing of Ancrum, who was fatally shot last Tuesday at age 17, resonated with those who attended the tribute.
“It kind of hits you hard. You realize how precious life really is,” said Derek Winga, a friend of the victim.
“I really wanted to make sure that people remember him the right way and do something like this,” said Coach Brett Gotz with the South Florida Express, Ancrum’s football team.
According to Miami Gardens Police, Ancrum suffered a gunshot wound to the chest at a home in the area of Northwest 207th Street and 34th Court.
Alvarez said her son’s longtime friend pulled the trigger while they were apparently fighting over a video game.
Loved ones described Ancrum as a passionate athlete with big dreams of playing in the NFL. He played for the Express as a defensive back.
“Josh was a kid who really led by example. The kids all loved being around him. He was a super kid,” said Gotz.
“The smile on his face, always laughing and dancing, having fun,” said Winga. “He was always kind of the spiritual guy, always lifting people up.”
As this community prepares to lay Ancrum to rest, his mother said she is hoping to see change.
“I just hope that this wakes the youth that’s out there, that the violence is real,” she said. “I lost my son. Anyone could be next. The guns need to be put down.”
Ancrum’s viewing will be held at Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in Miami Gardens from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday. A funeral service has been scheduled for Saturday at 11 a.m. The public is welcome to attend both events.
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