A cloudy Saturday turned sunny just as friends and relatives of Jaimone Kirkland gathered in Roff City Park to bid him farewell by releasing pink and white balloons - some with handwritten messages on them - into the springtime sky.
Kirkland, 18, was stabbed to death in Stonewall on April 18.
"This event means a lot to me, because Jaimone was more than just a friend," Haylie Chandler, one of the event's organizers, said Saturday. "He was (for) all of us, a brother by heart.
"Mainly we're doing this event to maybe try to teach people to do better, that violence is never the answer," she said.
"The thing that hit me big was when we were all at the funeral home, there were 49 cars in the escort," Chase Webb said. "And every single one of them were kids (around) 18 - not a single one of them was an adult. Before this, we hardly knew half of each other, and within the last four or five days, we're all like best friends. It means a lot how a bunch of random kids can gather after something like this, and just grow."
"Jaimone has brought us all together to be one big family," Chandler added. "We've all been hugging each other. We've all held each other and cried. And we've shared something very special with everybody. We realized that at any time, any one of us could be gone, and we should be thankful for who we're around."
Authorities arrested a 15-year-old male suspect.
Pontotoc County Sheriff John Christian said the stabbing occurred at about 5 p.m. at Stonewall's Blair Park. Kirkland was at the park with his girlfriend when the 15 year old approached and reportedly started a confrontation before stabbing Kirkland.
The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation is investigating the case.