Garon Lewis had a good day at school.

That’s what he told his father, Iberia Parish School Board member Raymond "Shoe-Do” Lewis, when he came home Aug. 9 after his first day of senior year at New Iberia Senior High. One week later, Garon’s body was discovered about 9:45 p.m. in a vehicle near the intersection of Audrey and Rene streets.

The 17-year-old had been shot to death.

Around 200 students, teachers and community members gathered in the NISH gymnasium to comfort one another and pay their respects to Garon’s family Wednesday night. Students lined rows of bleachers and the walls, standing shoulder to shoulder as they sniffled during memorials and presentations to Garon’s family.

Outside the school, an LED announcement board alternated memorial messages honoring Garon, including a sign reading “#2 on the field, but #1 in our hearts.” Garon was slated to play on the NISH football team as a defensive back wearing No. 2 this year, according to the team roster.

Raymond Lewis described his son, the youngest of five siblings, as clever, intelligent, loving and willing to do anything for those who needed him.

Wednesday evening, Lewis reminisced on his wife Roxy’s pregnancy with Garon before the crowded gymnasium. Originally told she could no longer have children, the Lewises were told Garon would have medical struggles, from a cleft palate to a hole in his heart to down syndrome. His father said, no matter what, they would love him.

On Dec. 5, 2001, Garon was born healthy.

“He was a miracle,” Lewis said. “God gave us this blessing that has touched many lives.”

Two of Garon’s close friends, Carlos Harris and Khaj-Erik Olivier, said their friend was “one of a kind.” He was a young man with style and a signature approach to life who was kind, selfless, encouraging and a steady, good friend. Garon was an earnest listener and gave the best advice, Harris said.

“You couldn’t say anything wrong about G. He didn’t bother anyone. You would never hear G’s name in anything negative,” Olivier said.

His loss is being felt deeply by his friends and the community, they said.

“It’s a hole you can’t refill with material things or anything like that. It’s irreplaceable — he was like a younger brother,” Harris said.

Following graduation, Garon planned to attend college and study to become a nurse practitioner. His mother works in the nursing field, and Garon was a known “mama’s boy,” his friends said. They said with few men in the field, Garon felt he could be successful while helping others.

The two friends said they feel motivated to work harder now, for themselves and for Garon.

“Whenever I’m working now, I’ll be thinking about G,” Olivier said. “G would want me to make this money, do this job and be successful.”

Raymond Lewis and others lamented the gun violence they said is plaguing the community and called for young men and women to demand an end to the violence.

Lewis also cautioned against retaliation for his son’s death. He said Garon wouldn’t want violence in his name and his family doesn’t want that either. The mourning father said he’s confident the New Iberia Police Department has viable leads and “we’ll have some answers pretty soon.”

“We believe the law and justice is going to prevail,” he said.

Editor's note: A previous version of this story incorrectly spelled Audrey Street. The Acadiana Advocate regrets the error. 

Email Katie Gagliano at kgagliano@theadvocate.com