STRUTHERS, Ohio (WKBN) — A community came together to remember one of its own that was murdered.
“Justin always had a smile on his face, he was the greatest kid. He was friends with everyone,” said vigil organizer Nina Depietro.
“He made me happy every time I saw him. Just his smile, he just loved people, loved life and its sad that it came to an end,” added neighbor Leeann Jannone.
The Struthers community spent a cold Sunday night remembering 23-year-old Justin Slaven who police say was killed by his mother Thursday night.
“I was heartbroken, completely shattered. I grew up next to Justin being a toddler, it is such a tragedy,” said Jannone.
“He affected a lot of lives and, he affected a lot of lives and as you can see it shows here today,” continued Depietro.
One by one, friends touched by Justin spoke with a common theme; their lives were better with him in it.
“Always smiley and always happy and I guess that makes it even harder to understand why somebody like that. And again someone a lot of physical issues growing up and hardships. But persevered and acted like it was no big deal,” said Purple Cat Director Jimmy Sutman.
Justin worked at the Purple Cat in Struthers under Sutman, who explained that one of the young man’s favorite things to do was show off his karate moves.
“What a blessing. You know, its hard to believe that I am not going to be getting beat up karate style anymore, but I am going to smile thinking about it,” said Sutman.
An online fund for Justin has been set up. $2,000 has already been donated for funeral costs. You can donate by clicking here.