LAFAYETTE, LA — A candlelight vigil originally planned to pray for Matthew Carter’s healing was transformed into an occasion to remember his life.
The vigil started at 4 P.M., but Long afterward friends gathered around his former parking spot. It’s become a memorial much like the one Thursday.
“You just never would have thought that our Matthew would be gone today, but I know that Matthew wouldn’t want any bad to come from this,” Tanner Castille said early into the service.
It was clear everyone felt a presence missing, #31 Matthew Carter.
“He was a tough kid,” remembered Doug Dotson when he first met Carter as a freshman.
“So kind, so welcoming,” remarked co-workers from Pizza Artista in Broussard.
“I tried to shut everyone out, and he wouldn’t allow it,” said another student who broke down into tears. “He wanted to be sure that I could keep going on.”
Student after, after teacher, after principal, after coach took the podium sharing heartfelt stories and ones that would make you laugh. The 17-year-old uniting everyone in his death as he did in life.
“I lost my brother, but I have gained so many family members through this,” said Nichole Carter, Matthew’s older sister. “We know how much we love our Matt because he’s our Matt, but look out and see how much everybody loves our Matt that’s going to hold us so close.”
A former teammate shared how he met Carter on a car ride. Getting food they were on the road before they knew each other’s names. That player said he’d dedicate his next season to number 31.
“I would give everything up just for one more car ride with him,” he shared.
Over everything, the vigil encouraged everyone attending to live the way Matt would.
“To do the Matt thing, I believe, is to do the right thing,” one preacher remarked.
Comeaux High School Principal Mary Zeno cried knowing she’d never see another Matthew Carter smile and wink. “I want each of you to take care of each other,” Zeno said. “Take care of each other, okay. Because we all know that no one is promised tomorrow, so stay Spartan strong.”
Carter’s family did not set a funeral date yet, but they say they will keep us posted and let us know about it as soon as they have one.
A 13 and 14-year-old are charged with first-degree murder for carter’s death. Lafayette police report their motive for the shooting was robbery.