YORK, Pa. --- A balloon release preceded a new candlelit memorial outside the Royal Court Barber Lounge on the 200 block of East Philadelphia Street Wednesday night.
This coming one day after Elias Dowlatram, 5, died from a gunshot wound Tuesday following an incident near the scene of the memorial.
Patricia Stuckey, Dowlatram's great aunt, said their family and friends are mourning and grieving his death.
“He’s a young child and we need all the prayers that we can…Hold your children close to you because everything can go in a second," said Stuckey.
Ana Mercado, owner of the Royal Court Barber Lounge, said she organized the memorial at the request of Dowlatram's family.
She said she always saw Elias on the nearby sidewalk as he lived in a neighboring building.
She also said she responded to the scene of the incident and "tried everything" she could.
“If your neighbor is going through pain, you should also feel their pain…I’m just glad that we came together as a community and just our prayers, in general. Because if we get together and we unite our prayers, there’s power in that,” said Mercado.
Dozens of people gathered Wednesday evening in an effort to support the family, including Damien Moore.
Moore said Dowlatram was the cousin of one of his children.
“The majority of us are parents and anytime something happens to a child, it affects the whole community. That’s why I’m out here, show my support to the family, you know, it’s a tragic situation,” said Moore.
Dowlatram is described as "fun loving" and "full of energy."
He was beginning to try his hand at playing football for the York Bears Smurfs ages 5-8 football team.
“I loved him, you know what I’m saying? Last time I spoke to him, he told me "Coach, I love you." That was last week some time. I’m just here to support the family and let them know I’m not only the coach, I consider him like one of mines on the football field,” said head coach Theodore Dewitt.
Dewitt said the team plans to memorialize Dowlatram at Hanna Penn Middle School at 5:30 p.m. Thursday evening.
He encourages the public to attend.