BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The Southern University community held a candlelight vigil Monday, March 15, in honor of slain student, Marquise Jones.
Earlier Monday, the Orleans Parish Coroner’s Office released a report stating Jones died of a gunshot wound before his body was discovered in Lake Ponchatrain on March 10.
Jones was last seen on Feb. 25 headed towards Slidell for his uncle’s funeral. When he didn’t show up, family members say they knew something was wrong.
A spokesperson for the New Orleans Police Department says the case is being investigated as a homicide.
The vigil was held outside of the Southern University School of Nursing building on its campus in Baton Rouge. Jones was on track to be a nursing student at Southern.
His family said he was simply too good for this earth but now they want answers from New Orleans police about what happened to him.
“It’s just feeling real, like my brother’s really gone,” said Simona Jones, Marquise’s sister. “I mean to imagine life without him, that’s so sickening.”
His family said Marquise was a dean’s list student, made people smile, and that his personality was infectious.
“But he knows he had a lot of love,” added Ashley Cook, Marquise’s sister. “Everybody loved him.”
Southern University’s SGA held the candlelight vigil in honor of Jones.
“There is sadness and grief at the loss we feel,” said Chandler Vidrine, Southern’s SGA president. “So shocking in horror, so great in its number, and so gripping in its connections to each of us.”
“I wanted to be here in support of him because had it been me, I would have wanted the same support as well,” said Haley Wesley, a Southern University student.
Wesley met Marquise at freshman orientation and said he was always nice to everyone and well known on campus.
“I used to see him a couple times in the union and anytime that I needed somebody’s Jag-cash to swipe because I maxed them out, he would let me use his card,” added Wesley.
Students say the campus has been quiet after his unexpected death. But this vigil was a way to begin to heal.
“I know we offered counseling to students that are mourning the loss and 24-hour calls to the counseling center and stuff like that,” said Carlos Brister, Southern sophomore class president. “And talking amongst the student body, just to be there and grieve with each other.”
Marquise’s mother assured everyone they will find out what happened to her boy.
“It’s not the end; I’m going to just say it like that,” said Erica Jones. “It’s not the end. We will get justice for Marquise, no matter what.”
The family is asking anyone if they have information to contact authorities.
Gov. John Bel Edwards issued a proclamation Tuesday in honor of Jones.
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