Community members and students took to Birmingham’s East Lake Park Sunday to remember a high school student who was shot and killed last week. Those at the vigil prayed, sang, marched and released purple balloons, the favorite color of 17-year-old Courtlin Arrington who was fatally shot Wednesday as classes were getting out at Huffman High School. Student and march organizer Jaylon Evans says Arrington was a great person.
“She was never bad. She never had a bad attitude,” says Evans. “It was always something about her that made everybody happy.”
Evans says he also played football with 17-year-old Michael Barber, who prosecutors charged with manslaughter Friday in connection with the death. They say Barber brought a pistol to the school recklessly causing Arrington’s death. Police released no further details. School leaders say there are metal detectors at the school, but they were not in use that day.
The gathering was punctuated by calls for an end to violence in schools and the Birmingham community, although no specific policies were mentioned. Wanda Stephens says she’s praying for Arrington’s family having lost her own son to gun violence 12 years ago.
“It’s a pain that nobody needs to feel,” says Stephens. “I know. I’ve been there, done that.”
Only 150 Huffman students attended school Friday, the day classes resumed after the shooting. Birmingham City Schools Superintendent Lisa Herring says a crisis team will still be on campus Monday to support students.