GREENVILLE, S.C (WSPA) – Hundreds of family members, friends and classmates gathered to pay their respects to 12-year-old Jamari Jackson, who was killed at Tanglewood Middle School on March 31.

Many wore his favorite color red, while others consoled each other as they said goodbye a final time.

“This is a tragedy,” said community activist Bruce Wilson. “There’s no other way to say that. No one could expect something like this to happen.”

As Jackson’s casket closed, cries could be heard around Relentless Church. Photos and videos of the young boy played as his loved ones reminisced on his life.

“He was 12, and here we are talking about him in the past tense,” said Relentless Church Pastor John Gray. “I’m not okay with that.”

Jackson’s family remembered him as a loving brother who looked out for his younger sister. They said he deeply cared for those with special needs and stood up for students who were being treated poorly.

A message was read on behalf of Jackson’s mother.

I will miss your smile and the way you laugh. I know you left this world happy and made others happy….I pray you didn’t feel a thing. All I have now are memories. At least they are good memories…I will always be here for you, and I will always love you.

Message on the behalf of Jamari Jackson’s mother

Less than two weeks after Jackson was killed, the community is still searching for answers.

“I can’t imagine the pain of saying, ‘Alright Mari, I’ll see you after school,’ and he doesn’t come home,” said Gray.

Amid the devastation, the community is rallying around Jackson’s family and trying to find hope.

“This is horrific and tragic, but it can now become a seed of something more, of something greater,” said Gray.

During the service, Gray announced Steph Curry, Jackson’s favorite NBA player, will donate a signed jersey to Jackson’s family. He also revealed Relentless Church has set up a scholarship fund for Jackson’s sister.

A statement was released on behalf of Jackson’s family ahead of the memorial service:

The family of Jamari “Mari” Cortez Bonaparte Jackson has engaged the Pizarro Law Firm, LLC, to assist them as they navigate the intricacies related to Mari’s passing. As the family lays Mari to rest today, they would like to thank the many people and organizations for the thoughts, prayers, donations, and expressions of kindness extended to them during this unimaginable tragedy. They ask for your continued prayers of comfort in the coming weeks as they are left to fully embrace a new normal without their beloved Mari.

The loss of any loved one or relative brings a pain that only time can heal, but the loss of a twelve year old child brings a heartache that is unfathomable and overwhelming. The circumstances of Mari’s passing only add to the grief that his family is facing.

As the family moves forward in this process, they ask for peace and privacy while they allow the system to work. We look forward to meeting with law enforcement and prosecuting authorities in the coming week, and we are committed to keeping the community apprised of developments in this case.

Margie A. Pizarro, Attorney