CHICAGO (WLS) -- Rashad Verner was a star student and athlete at Urban Prep, who was killed in what his family describes as an accidental shooting last week.
To his family, Rashad was their heartbeat, the youngest of nine siblings. His parents said his love of football was secondary only to his immense love of family.
"Rashad is the best of every one of us that you see standing out here," his mother Latonja Williams said at a Monday evening memorial in his honor.
"He was planning to throw a family reunion every year. He wanted his family reunion and so we're here," said Roddrick Verner, father.
Chicago police said the 18-year-old was found with two gunshot wounds at a home near 70th and Paxton. Another 19-year-old was also found shot, but survived. Police said the case is still under investigation, but his family called it a tragic "accident" and a devastating loss.
"I am going to miss his confidence. I'm going to miss his helpfulness. Before COVID, he would help me once a month cook meals to feed the homeless," Williams said.
Rashad's family said he was a young man of faith, who loved food and football. A senior at Urban Prep, he was set to graduate next year with dreams to play at the college level.
That bright future may be gone, but his impact on others lives on.
"He was just a wonderful light and I know that he is with God," said his grandmother Ann Hill. "His life and his legacy will live on with us forever."
Urban Prep officials said Tuesday morning they'll hold a memorial at the school. His family said they plan to host their own memorial as well on the school's football field.
Urban Prep student Rashad Verner killed in shooting described by family as 'tragic accident'