LANCASTER, Ohio — Haylen Tabor, 16, died Wednesday a day after police said he was shot during a robbery in Lancaster.
His family and friends said goodbye to him with a balloon release Wednesday evening.
“He’s looking down smiling. Because what we had to face in the hospital, we didn’t get a last smile,” said Laura Tabor, Haylen Tabor’s mother.
His smile is what she’s holding onto because his was taken too soon.
Aleesha LeBlanc, Jayd Reid and Bayleigh Harlen, some of his friends, put the event together to say their goodbyes.
“It’s just heartbreaking because I couldn’t say goodbye to him before he left, he was just gone in the blink of an eye,” said Reid.
More than 100 people met to grieve with his family.
“This is Haylen’s blanket he died in it today," Laura Tabor said while holding the blanket at Wednesday's balloon release. "This is the only piece of him that I can have."
Haylen's mother showed 10TV some of the photos of her son in the hospital.
She said the photos are graphic, but she wanted people to see what violence did to her son. And now, his smile, the smile so many fell in love with, will now light up Heaven.
“The very last thing I said to my son, we exchanged 'I love you',” said Laura Tabor.
“All these people, just knowing that so many people loved my son is helping me get through right now,” she said.
Lancaster police said four people, three 16-year-old boys and a 21-year-old man, have been arrested and charged with aggravated robbery.
Police said additional charges are pending.