Vigil held for child who drowned in Charlotte creek saving siste - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Vigil held for child who drowned in Charlotte creek saving sister

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Randez Brown, 11, drowned after family members believe he tried to save his sister from the water. Randez Brown, 11, drowned after family members believe he tried to save his sister from the water.
Shamiya, 7 Shamiya, 7
CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

The crowd gathered Monday evening in the middle of the field - not far from the creek that Randez Brown jumped in to save his little sister.

"My mind just went to the song if I can help somebody along the way then my living shall not be in vain" said a family friend who attended the vigil. "I really do believe with all my heart that even at the age of 12 today that his living has not been in vain."

Family, friends, neighbors, classmates, and church members held balloons and candles.

"The balloons because we love him and it's just a way we celebrate" said Joyce Hart, Randez's paternal grandmother. "And the candles - we hope this light reaches the heavens because we know that is where he is."

Randez's mother said the 11-year-old was her third child.

"My little baby. My little beautiful baby. Prettiest baby. He was so pretty" said Stephanie Black. "And helpful. He'll ask everyday- like you okay? You alright? You need anything from the store?"

Monday evening was the first time Black spoke publicly since her two children were rescued from the creek.

On Thursday , investigators say Randez, and his 7-year-old sister, Samiyah, were part of a group of children that breached a fence and went to the creek to play.

Police believe the children may have misjudged the depth of the water when the tunnel they were in ended. Samiyah apparently slipped and fell in. Randez, who was not fond of swimming, jumped in to save his little sister.

Police say the call for help came in around 8 p.m. on Thursday evening.

Randez and Samiyah were rushed to Carolinas Medical Center where Randez died early Friday morning. Samiyah is still in intensive care.

Monday evening the children's grandmother said "Samiyah is coming along. She attempted to open her eyes yesterday. They're reading to her and we're trusting God to bring her through because we believe if God wanted her he would have taken her when he took Randez."

"He was scared of water," After School Counselor Lauren Stines said. "Very scared of water and so to be in there to save his sister - I mean there is not a more beautiful story than that - to give one's live to save someone else."

Stines says Randez came to the after school program at Sedgefield Elementary on Mondays. She saw him this past Monday. He wanted to pray.

"I said Randez not this week," Stines said. "Your brother is going to pray and he stood beside his brother while he did it and I told Randez he was going to be a preacher one day. And he just took so much pride in that when I said that."

The counselor believes even in death the 5th grader is teaching a lesson.

"He's teaching us all what it means to be faithful to your family," Stines said. "What it means to go through the ups and downs of life. What it means to keep going."

WBTV has learned that three counselors were at Sedgefield Elementary on Monday to help students coping with the incident. There were ten counselors on Friday.

At the vigil Monday evening, Randez's grandmother said "we're here to celebrate not only his home going but his birthday."

Randez would have turned 12 Monday.

The crowd sang Happy Birthday before releasing dozens of balloons and lighting candles.

Relatives say the viewing for Randez will be held Saturday March 29 at 11am at Chappell Baptist Church on Bradford Drive in Charlotte.

Funeral Service will be held after the viewing.

A fund has been set up to help the family pay funeral costs. You can donate here

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