It was an evening filled with tears and hugs as hundreds grabbed a candle and gathered around the Bridges and Lewis families. As the candles flickered and the air filled with whispered prayers friends and family made sure that Alex Bridges, 17, and Kayla Lewis,19, would not be forgotten.
Awed by the crowd, it was difficult for Victoria Bridges to find the right words.
"It just shows how loved they really were. It's the greatest honor that he could have possibly had," she said, looking out over the people who had come to honor her little brother Alex.
But the events that led to Tuesday's vigil are still hard to believe.
Sunday morning, the families were notified that Kayla and Alex had been shot and killed by Kayla's ex-boyfriend Marc Reyes. After the shooting, deputies say Reyes took the five-month-old daughter he had with Kayla to his parent's house where he then shot and killed himself.
"I tried to get protection for her. I tried to get her away. I tried to get him thrown in jail and it just never happened," Kayla's father Jerry said.
Jerry says Reyes was continually abusive to his daughter when they dated. A protective order was taken out against him just weeks ago to try and keep him away from Kayla and their daughter.
Scared for her life and not wanting her to be alone, Alex volunteered to stay with Kayla.
"He was a protector. He protected anyone around him, and that's all there is to it," Victoria said. "He was the most loyal kid I've ever met and his life was taken when he was way too young."
Jerry hopes his daughter's tragic story will turn into a blessing for others - inspiring women who are in abusive relationships to take a stand and fight to escape domestic abuse.
"She was my everything. I'm going to make sure her daughter knows who her mother is, and how good of a mother she had," he said.
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