Gaston Co. community holds vigil for high school football player killed in Concord earlier this month

Kamarion “KD” Degree was shot in killed on July 15 in Concord.
A vigil was held after Kamarion “KD” Degree was shot in killed on July 15 in Concord.
Published: Jul. 29, 2022 at 11:38 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

GASTONIA, N.C. (WBTV) - A Gaston County community is mourning after a 17-year-old high school football player who was shot and killed earlier this month in Concord.

Kamarion “KD” Degree was a former football player at Bessmer City High School. He played his freshman year and was set to get back under the Friday night lights this fall as a senior.

“It’s really still hard to fully understand that their son’s not coming back home,” said Degree’s cousin Raina Purvis.

Degree’s family held a vigil Friday night at Martha’s River Park in Gastonia.

“This broke more than just a family, this broke a community. A lot of kids hurt from this, a lot of mentors hurt from this,” said his father, Kenyon Degree.

His mother described Kamarion Degree’s smile.

“He always lit up the room, had a joke or hug. Just something to make you feel good,” said Korinne Degree.

Family members, friends, and teammates of 17 year old Kamarion "KD" Degree are holding a vigil at Martha's River Park in Gastonia.

Concord Police say Degree was shot while riding in the car. Purvis said he was caught in the middle of a dispute between the people he was with and the suspects who were later charged with murder.

“You would think he went over to visit his friend’s house and just ended up not coming home is very devastating and tragic,” Purvis said.

Purvis says Degree and his younger brother who was also in the car, were not involved.

“They were basically just innocent bystanders in the vehicle with the friend,” she said.

Concord Police arrested and charged 24-year-old Paris Johnson and 18-year-old Witness Haynes.

Purvis described Degree as humble. His father told WBTV off camera that his son loved football, rapping, playing video games, and spending time with his family.

“Those were the main things he loved to do, sports and being with his family,” Purvis said.

Purvis hopes everyone who comes to his vigil understands violence has no place here or anywhere.

“I really want tonight to be about the youth coming together and reflecting on how gun violence is not the way,” she said. “It impacts the families of both the shooter and the victim, it impacts the community as a whole.”

Copyright 2022 WBTV. All rights reserved.