Hundreds remember slain teenager at candlelight vigil

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. —

Hundreds of people lit candles and marched in West Charlotte on Friday night to remember the life of a slain teenager.

Khalil Cousart, 13, was shot and killed early Tuesday morning by 16-year-old Damien Wright. Family members said the two were close friends, and they believe the shooting was accidental. Wright is charged with felony murder.

Cousart's mother and father stood in front of hundreds of family members and friends and together lit a candle in honor of their son -- a powerful moment that brought tears to many eyes along Tuckaseegee Road at the spot where Cousart was killed.

Cousart was excited for school to start again. His family says he loved learning, loved life, and already knew he wanted to have a career in computer science.

"He's truly been loved by a lot of people as you can see. We've been doing this all week and cherishing him. He'll definitely be remembered by all of us," said family friend Diane Bailey.

Cousart's father believes Wright was trying to protect his son from another group of teenagers, but accidentally shot and killed him. His family said there's no excuse for what happened.

"A 16-year-old should not be having a firearm of any kind of sorts," said Shelton Morris, Cousart's uncle.

"Carrying weapons is not safe, no matter what," Bailey added.

A Charlotte group called Mothers of Murdered Offspring brought hundreds of people to a short march before the vigil started Friday night.

Judy Williams said she wanted to send a message against youth-on-youth violence.

"It's time for it to stop. And we got to start with Khalil, right here right now." Williams said.

Family members said if that message gets through to other teens, then Cousart's death won't be in vain.

Cousart's funeral will be Saturday at 2 pm at the Temple Church International on Tuckaseegee Road.