PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - A solemn night in Philadelphia’s Andorra section as the community remembers a 16-year-old teen who lost his life to gun violence.
“He puts a smile on everyone’s face,” said Gianna Petrucci.
Football quarterback. Basketball player. Boxer. Honor student. And, clearly, trusted friend, based on the large gathering Sunday night April 8 at Houston Playground in Andorra. This is where 16-year-old Bill Bethel would hang out.
“He was an amazing person. He had a huge heart for everybody,” Emily Fisher said.
The sophomore at Boys' Latin of Philadelphia Charter School was shot on Easter Sunday on South Street, after what police say was a dispute between two groups of teens. He died two days later.
“He’s looking over at us and he wants us to be as happy and positive as he was because we never really saw him upset. I mean, as you can see in all those pictures, he was always positive and always had a big smile on his face,” said Izabella Vidal.
Tears shed over the loss of a young man with a bright future. The group lit candles and released balloons in Bill’s honor. Stories were shared about how the young man made them better.
“Bill came up to me and he said ‘I’ll play you one on one for two dollars.’ And, I’ll never forget it. It was probably the best game I ever had,” said one friend, “And, I like to think I’m the best player in the world. He made me shut my mouth after that.”
Bill’s parents thanked the crowd.
“I just want to say I love you all,” Bill’s father, William Bethel, said.
And, the response to Mr. Bethel was touching.
“I just want to say thank you to you guys for bringing him into this world, even though he got taken out way to soon,” said another friend.
Support his parents find comfort in.
“It makes us feel so much better to know that everybody has so many positive things to say about our baby,” Willisha Bethel, Bill’s mother, said.