Grieving family, friends, and loved ones will gather for a vigil and a memorial service for Demitri Hampton, who lost his life Sunday after being shot during a Flanders home invasion.
Riverhead Central School District Superintendent Nancy Carney said a candlelight vigil will be held outside in front of Riverhead High School on Thursday at 6 p.m.
A deacon from Hampton's church will speak, Carney said, and a member of his congregation will sing.
"Any death is a tragedy, particularly one that is as untimely and premature as that of Demitri Hampton," Carney said. "My heart goes out to his family and his friends for their loss."
Those planning to attend the vigil are asked to bring their own candle, said Theresa Drozd, student and community service specialist, K-12 Violence Prevention Coordinator, E.S. BOCES/Riverhead School District. "We are expecting a large turnout and may not have enough."
Remembering Hampton, Drozd said, "Demitri was a 'shining star' in our lives. He always had a smile and if you didn’t, he would make sure you did. It is a tragedy because an innocent young man who had so much going for him is not with us today. A senseless loss of life."
Drozd said Hampton was a member of the Council for Unity program, a program aimed at offering students positive choices, but said he was never "gang-involved. Council for Unity, although begun in New York City as a gang prevention program, was not necessarily used for that reason here. CFU was for students who wanted to make a change in their school and community."
A second memorial service will be held at Suffolk County Community College's eastern campus on Monday at 11 a.m.
"The entire college community is saddened by the tragic loss of Demitri Hampton," said Drew Fawcett, associate dean for institutional advancement at Suffolk County Community College. "Mr. Hampton was an active member of the eastern campus in Riverhead. He had many friends and often took on leadership roles within clubs, activities and intramural sports. He will be deeply missed those who knew him."
The Suffolk County Community College memorial, Fawcett said, will include a photographic and video homage to Hampton and will allow friends and acquaintances to share their positive thoughts and recollections.
Students at Suffolk County Community College have also dedicated their annual Black History month presentation to Hampton.
Police said this week that Hampton could have been an innocent bystander in the shooting.
Funeral services for Hampton will be held on Saturday.