Phillip Crow will never get to meet his child. He will never get to go to college. He will never be able to vote. Crow, 18, a soon-to-be father, a competitive athlete and an all-around "good kid," was shot and killed Monday afternoon while standing on a sidewalk in Thornton, talking with some friends.
Since then, an around-the-clock station has been set up at the site of Crow's murder on the 8000 block of West Stockton Street. Roughly 20 people have guarded the site at all hours, family friend Jennifer Alvarado said, keeping watch and praying.
Crow's killer is still on the loose, but at a candlelight vigil held Wednesday, family and friends did not worry so much about the investigation.
Instead, they gathered and consoled one another as they remembered a life that was lost too soon.
"It should not have been this kid, not this time," Alvarado said. " ... I loved him like a son."
Richard Crow and Stacie Castillo, Crow's brother and sister, were on-hand to thank those who attended the candlelight vigil.
The vigil included dozens of lit spiritual and religious candles, photos of Crow as a child on a basketball team or out with friends, and even a pack of Skittles that lay gently against a Teddy bear.
Richard Crow and Castillo held onto family and friends as "Hail Marys" were recited, and after the second prayer, Crow's brother buried his head in his hands, trying to hide his tears.
But Crow's brother was not alone in shedding tears.
There was not one dry eye as prayers were uttered and memories voiced during the vigil.
Paula Soto, director of the Thornton Community Center, watched Crow grow up and helped to get him into sports like football, basketball and softball to hone his fierce athletic competitive streak.
Crow had an incredible sense of humor and a naturally ability to be a friend to many, she said, and Crow's death has not only united the community, but also made people very wary.
She said that Tuesday morning she noticed parents walking hand-in-hand with their children to school.
As cars passed during the vigil, heads whipped around, eyes focusing on the passers-by.
Miriam Rodriguez, 25, sat quietly by the pyramid of candles, photos and offerings, occasionally wiping away tears that she mostly let fall into her lap.
Rodriguez is three months along with Crow's child, and the idea of raising a family with Crow used to be something she teased him about.
Growing up, she said, she joked that she would marry Crow one day. But when the two found out they were going to be parents, she said they were nothing short of ecstatic.
"I am grateful for the time we've had and I did cherish our time together," she said.
As the prayers closed during Crow's vigil, people were asked if they wished to say something in Crow's memory.
Most were wiping their eyes, trying to take a breath before maybe being able to speak.
Then one voice rang out.
"We are really going to miss you, kid," Alvarado shouted as the crowd began to disperse.
Contact reporter Katie Nelson at firstname.lastname@example.org.