Signs of sorrow
BATTLEMENT MESA – There it is, on a wooden fence, across the street from the single-wide trailer that Taylor DeMarco called home.”I miss you buddy,” says the sign. Along with that message is a drawing of kids jumping on a trampoline while another kid skateboards off to the side. “Miss you Taylor,” it reads below the drawing. And at Taylor’s house, on sheets of paper, are the words, “WE MISS YOU TAYLOR.” The signs were made by Taylor DeMarco’s neighbor friends and playmates: Tynan Dutton, Jacob Bennett, Ceauxlbie Gray and Chayce Gray. “It was their idea,” said Kris Gray, father of Jacob, Ceauxlbie and Chayce. “They didn’t know what else to do.”
Nine-year-old Taylor DeMarco was shot to death July 20, on this same street, at another friend’s house, a few doors down from where these signs now hang. Fourteen-year-old Eric Stoneman, who lives in the same neighborhood on a different street, allegedly used a .22 caliber semiautomatic pistol in the shooting. Neighborhood children and their parents, along with neighbors, family and friends, attended a memorial service for Taylor on Saturday at Bea Underwood Elementary School, just blocks away from where these kids used to play together. The DeMarco family’s next-door neighbor, Kris Gray, was reluctant to speak to the Post Independent on Saturday after the service. “This isn’t about me,” he said. “I don’t want my name in the paper, like I’m grandstanding. I just think these signs say a lot about what these kids are going through.” Gray said the shooting has shocked everyone in the neighborhood, and raised many questions that are almost impossible to answer – particularly to children who were close to Taylor in age and friendship.
“I don’t know what to say to her,” said Gray, pointing to Ceauxlbie, as she lay on the school lawn after Saturday’s service. “I don’t know how to tell any of them that Taylor isn’t coming back.” He also said it’s hard for adults, let alone kids, to know how to express themselves, and to share what they’re feeling. “Flowers die, and a card – well, it’s just words,” he said. “The kids came up with this idea to put these signs out. It’s their way.” A group of older kids, some of whom attended the memorial, had another way to cope with the young boy’s death. Saturday, after the service, they got together in the Bea Underwood parking lot. They talked and skated around. It seemed like just the kind of thing their friend would’ve liked.Still, Gray said he can’t offer his kids an explanation why this tragedy had to occur.
“I don’t know myself,” he said. “It just doesn’t make sense.” Contact Carrie Click625-3245, ext. firstname.lastname@example.org
The Taylor DeMarco Memorial Fund has been established at Alpine Bank. Contributions may be made at any Alpine Bank branch.
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