HAMPTON, Va. — It was a moment to honor the life of 17-year-old Rae-Kwon Peterson.

An empty field across the street from the 7-Eleven quickly filled with people who came together to honor the young man they knew as ‘RaeRae,’ someone they loved deeply.

Peterson was shot and killed early Friday morning in the 2600 block of Kecoughtan Road.

His parents were emotional as they described their son and the pain of losing him.

Vionne Buggs, Peterson’s mother, spoke in front of a large crowd as she tried to fight back the tears.

“I’m gonna miss my baby, I’m gonna miss my baby dearly. I love him,” said Buggs.

Buggs said ‘RaeRae’ just graduated from Hampton High School and was working two jobs.

He would’ve turned 18 next month.

Kenneth Ford, a local minister attended the vigil and said a prayer.

“The community needs the support right now. We need to put the guns down and love more,” said Ford.

He echoed the message his family said loud and clear: young people in the community need more support, primarily from their parents.

“Make sure you keep the line of communication open with your kids. You’re their parents. They should never feel like they have to go somewhere else,” said Buggs.

Her words brought people to tears. More than 100 people chanted “RaeRae strong” as the vigil came to an end.

“To see all of you out here at the end of the day brings so much joy. I didn’t expect this turnout, I may need to call and say I need a bigger church,” said Buggs.

“I wanna live through Rae-Rae, so I wanna get through the hurt part as fast as I can I wanna speak at events I want people to know how it feels to lose somebody.”

In honor of RaeRae, his parents said they want to start a non-profit aimed at ending youth gun violence.

They plan to call it “Rae of hope.”

On Sunday, Hampton police said Mekhi Ivey, the suspect connected in the homicide, turned himself in.

MEKHI VICENTE IVEY
Hampton Police Division

Ivey is facing one count of murder and one count of use of a firearm in commission of a felony.

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