Counselors help New Britain students cope with loss of teen
By WFSB Staff
NEW BRITAIN, CT (WFSB) -
One of the largest high schools in the state is helping students cope with the tragic loss of hit-and-run victim Jackson DeJesus.
News of the teen's death sent shockwaves throughout the community, and for the first time since his death on Wednesday, counselors are being made available for students to speak with if need be.
Police are still actively looking for the killer, the driver of the Nissan Altima, but in the meantime, there are students who are just now learning of what happened and it's proving to be too much to handle for some.
Regina Sierra paid her respects to DeJesus on Thursday.
"I couldn't believe it," Sierra said. "It was shocking. It was crazy."
And with the outpouring of messages left at the scene of the fatal hit-and run, she's not the only one.
"He was a big part of everybody," Sierra said.
DeJesus' parents said he was an honor student at New Britain High School. Just three weeks after he turned 17, the soon-to-be junior was killed in the remorseless incident.
In surveillance video, you can see the moments leading up to the point where he was struck by the tan Nissan Altima just blocks from his home.
"(The driver) just killed a 17-year-old boy," Sierra said. "He should bring himself in."
The driver fled the scene and has virtually disappeared.
Now, just weeks into summer, she and other New Britain High School students are going back to school - for support.
"It's going to be very stressful and depressing when everybody goes back to school without him there," Sierra said.
"It's a loss to the whole community," said New Britain High School Principal Michael Foran. "He's a nice kid who did good things here, and I'm sure everywhere he went."
Grief counselors are available each morning from 89 a.m. until noon through the end of next week.
The entire family said it's stunned and outraged over the events of the past few days.
They said they are working closely with the New Britain Police Department to find the driver responsible for killing their son.
But, they said they're also conducting their own investigation into the hit-and-run.
"We're still in shock because he was a very good kid," said Luis Playa, DeJesus' uncle. "It still hasn't sunk in that Jackson is no longer with us."
Now, as the family prepares for his funeral, they're also devoting every extra second to finding out who was behind the wheel.
So far they said they have been canvassing the area and going door-to-door talking with potential witnesses, and the North Street neighborhood has been responsive.
"Especially because of who Jackson was. He was a very humble kid, loved by a lot of people and I know I feel that someone will come forward," Playa said.
Through tips, the family believes the suspect is local and every bit of info they get, they've been turning over to police.
An official memorial will be held at the corner of North and Tremont at 5 p.m. Friday, and the funeral will be held on Tuesday at the Deleon Funeral Home in Hartford.
Copyright 2012 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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