Pine Hills Elementary School holds vigil for 3 students killed this year

2 students fatally shot, another struck and killed in crash

PINE HILLS, Fla. – Three Pine Hills Elementary School students who were killed this year were honored Wednesday during a prayer vigil at the campus.

The school held the vigil to remember the lives of 9-year-old T’yonna Major, who was shot and killed in February, a 7-year-old boy, who was hit while riding his bicycle earlier this month, and 7-year-old Cameron Bouie, who was shot and killed during a domestic incident on Easter.

Major was at home with her mother when 19-year-old Keith Moses entered the home and shot her twice, according to Orange County deputies. The girl was taken to the hospital, where she later died.

Orange County School Board member Vicki Felder held a prayer service for the staff and families of Pine Hills Elementary School during the vigil.

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“I knew that my district, they were suffering. They were sad, and I didn’t have an answer. But I know the person who does. I know God,” Felder said.

Principal Latonya Smothers sent a voice message out to families notifying them of T’yonna’s death, adding “she was a kind and beautiful young girl with an infectious smile (who) will be missed dearly.”

“Today I was notified of the tragic death of one of our students, T’yonna Major, who was one of the victims of yesterday’s senseless violence in our neighborhood,” Smothers said in the voice message sent out in February. “I know I speak for our entire Pine Hills community when I express the grief we feel at the loss of one of our own.”

The prayer vigil was emotional as people gathered in the cafeteria. At one point, everyone prayed over the principal of the school and the teachers who had lost children in their class.

The 7-year-old boy, whose name has not been released, was riding his bicycle on a trail in the area of North Pine Hills Road and Dolores Drive when he went into the path of a truck and was hit. He was taken to the hospital, but he later died.

Bouie was shot and killed by his father, 28-year-old Lacorvis Tamar Daley, who also shot and killed his girlfriend’s 13-year-old daughter and his girlfriend’s 69-year-old mother, according to Orlando police.

Dr. Maria Vazquez, Superintendent of Orange County Public Schools, released a statement Monday on the shooting:

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About the Authors:

Brenda Argueta is a digital journalist who joined in March 2021. She graduated from UCF and returned to Central Florida after working in Colorado.