Hundreds gather to remember Emilio Hoffman: 'My memories are so alive'
BORING, Ore. -- Hundreds of people gathered at Sunday's memorial service in honor of Emilio Hoffman. Emilio was just 14 years old when he was gunned down at Reynolds High School in Troutdale on June 10.
"Though you were taken from me, no one can ever take the love away," said Emilio's mom, Jennifer Hoffman. "We all question why, why Emilio? The questions only you and God will ever have the answers to, I would give everything to know the answer."
Other speakers at the service included Emilio's club soccer coach. He wore his jersey along with the rest of the team.
"Even when he got in trouble, he was good," said the coach, Arnaldo Soriano. "Number 29 will never be forgotten."
Emilio's girlfriend recounted the times they shared.
"You were my first kiss, first boyfriend and first love," said Alyssa Karm. "I was your last kiss, last girlfriend and last love, and nothing can change that."
Emilio's teachers remembered the times he got in trouble but still made them laugh.
"He had a particular swagger," said his sixth grade teacher Jesse Slick.
"Every Monday, Emilio would ask me if I missed him over the weekend," said another teacher, Deithra Archie. "I would answer, 'no,' with a really big smile on my face, and I just want to say, Emilio Hoffman, I miss you."
Even strangers came to the service to show support.
"He's taught me to really love my son even more and hold on tight," one woman in the crowd stood up and said. She looked at Emilio's mom as she spoke. "I just want to thank you, Jennifer, for the hero that you raised."
Many people in the crowd wore red Converse sneakers. They said it was Emilio's favorite brand.
"Emilio, my memories are so alive," said Emilio's mom Jennifer Hoffman through tears. "Words are not enough to express how much we love Emilio. Rest in paradise my sweetness, fly with the angels my boy, and love everyone, Emilio, the same as they love you too."