Arlington community mourns Lamar High School shooting victim on teen’s birthday

On Friday night, Roshone Jacob remained quiet with tears in her eyes as 16 emerald balloons ascended into the tempestuous, gloomy Arlington sky.

In remembrance and commemoration of Ja’Shawn’s life, approximately 70 individuals gathered outside Lamar High School, where she stood alongside her loved ones and members of the community. Rather than observing her son Ja’Shawn Poirier’s 17th birthday, Jacob ought to have been present on that occasion.

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Jacob expressed, “I miss him so much and I know that I love him, so I just wanted to let my son go as I release these balloons.”

Ja’shawn tragically lost his life in a shooting incident outside the school on the morning of March 20. According to authorities, he was seated on the entrance stairs at approximately 6:55 a.M. When an unidentified vehicle passed by and an individual began shooting. Another student sustained minor injuries during the incident.

Ja’Shawn, a student from Pontiac, Michigan, was taken back to his hometown by Lamar, who said she could help in the small way she could. Even though it was just a small vigil on Friday night, the shooting that happened last month has deeply affected the community and the school.

Jacob stated, “I carried out this act on behalf of the children.” “This was done for the sake of the children since numerous youngsters desired it, thus I laid him to rest in his hometown. The children were requesting a funeral, and we fulfilled their wish with the children in mind.”

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Ja’Shawn was 16 years old when he was killed, and his favorite color was green: The release of the green 16 balloons was symbolic. Ja’Shawn was a sweet, kind, and “goofy” boy, as his mother called him, who loved sports, friends, and family. He was remembered as a kindhearted teenage boy.

A framed school photo of Ja’shawn Poirier was gifted to Rashone Jacob, Poirier’s mother, during his vigil at Lamar High School on April 21, 2023. (Matthew Sgroi | Fort Worth Report)

During the art class, Ja’Shawn presented her painting to Greg Haugen, the director of Lamar High School Choirs, as the attendees stood at the podium and quietly sang “Amazing Grace.” Despite the clear impact it had on her still-grieving mother, Jacob, she solemnly stood without holding a vigil for herself, her family, or herself, according to her words.

Lamar High School Principal Andy Hagman found the moment to be poetic.

He said, “We also experienced a cool breeze and beautiful sunshine, but it made me think about the difficulties, turbulence, and dark clouds we face in life. I was looking up at the dark clouds and the sky.”

The alleged shooter, a 15-year-old student, was apprehended and charged with capital murder and aggravated assault shortly after the shooting. As per court documents initially disclosed by The Dallas Morning News, the boy’s father was taken into custody three days later and is now facing federal charges for unlawfully possessing a firearm as a convicted felon. Law enforcement authorities discovered three illegally acquired firearms at his residence, according to the police.

Following a sequence of minor transgressions, Judge Alex Kim decided last week that the young man will continue to be held in detention. The adolescent has been in juvenile confinement since being apprehended.

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“Being this is so serious, I have to be heightened,” Kim said at the hearing. “Even the small rules are much bigger.”.

Sixteen green balloons are released into the Arlington sky during a vigil for Ja’Shawn Poirier, who was killed outside Lamar High School in March. (Matthew Sgroi | Fort Worth Report)

Ja’Shawn’s mother expressed her desire for legislative changes that prioritize gun control and school safety in addition to the arrests.

Jacob suggested, “The government needs to enhance the safety measures in the school by increasing the number of cameras and security.”

Taniya Banks, a sophomore at Lamar High School, reiterated that same sentiment.

Banks, who was in the same world history class as Poirier, said that students should feel safe coming to school. She wants more protection for herself and her fellow students.

She spoke affectionately as she reminisced about all the characteristics she adored about Ja’shawn.

Banks said, “He was just amazing, it’s just that he had good grades.” Banks exclaimed, “Oh my goodness, he was such an amazing kid.”

“Ja’shawn, I adore you,” Banks included.

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