16-year-old Amy Joyner died Thursday morning after being assaulted inside a school bathroom by several other students.
At a vigil Thursday night, classmates, friends and parents prayed, held hands and wept as they remembered Joyner, a sophomore.
"Whenever we had a problem, she would come to us and talk to us, and I never would of thought she would be the girl that would get killed like that," said 10th grade student Atiyya Wilkes.
Police are awaiting the results of an autopsy to determine the exact cause of Joyner's death.
The brutal attack happened just after 8:15 a.m. Thursday at the vocational-technical high school, located in the 400 block of East 12th Street.
Parents and guardians rushed to the scene as school administrators canceled all classes for the rest of the day and tried to keep calm outside.
At the time, many were unaware of the severity of the situation.
"Saying there was an incident that took place here at Howard and to come get your child," said Dupree Wright.
Witness tells me the Howard HS sophomore was fighting another girl in bathroom when she got jumped. pic.twitter.com/R2MNkYYjuz— Chad Pradelli (@chadpradelli) April 21, 2016
"They said there was a fight, I don't know. I am just trying to find my grandson," said Denise Dinkins.
The Action Cam was outside the school as medics performed CPR on the victim, who was taken on a stretcher to a waiting state police helicopter.
She was airlifted to A.I. duPont Hospital for Children, where she was pronounced dead.
Mayor Dennis Williams had to take a moment to compose himself while speaking at a news conference, held a short time after learning the student had passed away.
"I'm so upset that the young lady lost her life today. Things like this shouldn't happen," he said. "My heart bleeds for the family, the kids that go to this school, administrators and our city."
At Thursday night's vigil outside the school, classmates, parents and community leaders fondly remembered Joyner, who was the manager of the school's wrestling team.
"She was real nice," said Shane Gallagher, a member of the wrestling team. "She treated us like family and we treated her like family, and it hurts our hearts we can't ever see her anymore."
Several leaders decried the scourge of violence plaguing some communities.
"That little girl got beat up inside of a bathroom," said activist Malcom Coley. "How many of y'all stopped it? Did anybody stop it?"
Others noted a sad irony: the school has an anti-bullying campaign that kicks off every spring.
"The anti-bullying thing that schools put on, they don't really listen to 'em," said 9th grade student Julia Scott. "It honestly has to take something tragic like this to happen for them to actually open up their eyes."
"We need to get prayer back in our schools, we need to cover our babies by any means necessary, we're losing too many," said the Rev. Margaret Guy.
Two girls and several witnesses were being interviewed Thursday at the Wilmington Police Department.
No charges have been announced.