“It was one shot, one victim,” said Carmen Gray, Curtis' mother. “But look at the ricochet effect. Everyone was impacted.”
More than 300 people gathered at Town Center in Palm Coast on Sunday, April 29, to celebrate the legacy of Curtis Gray, the Flagler Palm Coast High School student who was gunned down in front of a Coin Laundry store in the early morning hours of April 13.
In addition to celebrating Curtis' life, those who attended also hope to send a message: to end the kind of violence that claimed the 18-year-old's life.
“We are a small tight-knit community, and we have suffered an unimaginable loss, an act of violence that we just cannot make sense of,” Palm Coast Mayor Milissa Holland said in her speech at the memorial. “A beautiful young man has been taken from us. A rising star extinguished way too early.”
"I was proud of him when he was alive. I'm extremely proud of him in his death."
Carmen Gray, Curtis' mother
Holland was one of several speakers to address the crowd, which included Flagler County Commissioner Joe Mullins, Flagler Schools Superintendent James Tager, Flagler Schools’ Dr. Earl Johnson, former Matanzas football coach Robert Ripley, current Pirates football coach Don Mathews and FPC track coach David Halliday, among others.
They all remembered Curtis, who played football and ran track at Matanzas before transferring to FPC before the start of the 2019 spring semester, as the young man with the encouraging attitude, the infectious laugh and the bright smile.
"He lit up a room, he lit up a practice field, he lit up a track with that smile," Halliday said.
The crowd, many of whom were dressed in white T-shirts emblazoned with the acronyms LLC (Long Live Curtis) and RTG (Rise To Greatness), marched a lap around the lake at Town Center. The train of people came to a brief halt, as Carmen Gray and her daughter, Destiny, dedicated a tree in honor of Curtis, who was laid to rest on Saturday, April 27.
“It was one shot, one victim,” Carmen Gray said. “But look at the ricochet effect. Everyone was impacted.”