High school teammates remember teen killed in Rockford-area attacks as driven, silly, kind

4 killed in attacks, including 15-year-old Jenna Newcomb, who died trying to save sister, friend

Friday, March 29, 2024
Friends remember teen killed in Rockford-area attacks as driven, kind
Teammates are remembering one of the Rockford victims. Jenna Newcomb was the teen killed in the area attacks. Christian Soto has been charged.

ROCKFORD, Ill. -- The high school teammates of a teen girl who died trying to save her sister and friend during a series of attacks in the Rockford area earlier this week are remembering her.

Jenna Newcomb's last actions were brave and heroic, but her teammates said love and loyalty have been part of her identity since they first met her, WREX reported.

The 15-year-old tried to protect her sister and friend, when 22-year-old Christian Soto allegedly broke into the home in which they were watching a movie on Wednesday.

A prosecutor said Thursday the girls were in the basement, when he attacked them with a bat.

Soto is accused of attacking eight others in addition to the three girls. Four people were killed, including Newcomb.

"She couldn't be ever mean to you," her teammate Bailey Carlson said.

"She was always such a nice person. I've never seen her angry once," Madison Owens said.

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The Rockford East High School student-athlete touched the hearts of many, with her teammates Carlson and Owens grieving her loss at Thursday's vigil, remembering those killed in the deadly attacks earlier this week.

They signed a softball to let her know they will never forget her fun and joking personality.

"She was always wanting to do silly pictures and running around," Carlson said.

There's no doubt that Newcomb's memory will be covered with smiles and laughs, but she also had a fierce love of playing sports with her teammates.

"She put everything into softball and basketball. Those were her sports," Carlson said.

"I've never really seen her give up on anything. She's a really hard worker," Owens said.

That hard work left a lasting impact on her teammates, who want to honor Newcomb by giving their all in everything they do.

"Our team, we really cared for her. We really loved her, and I think it's important that we continue to work hard for the wins that we have, even if they're really, really minimal," Owens said.

ABC7 Chicago contributed to this report.