JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As thousands are preparing to celebrate the Fourth of July this morning, family and friends of Glen McNeil are marking one year without him.
McNeil, 23, was shot and killed last year after celebrating the 4th of July with friends near the Seawalk Pavilion in Jacksonville Beach.
McNeil's murder stunned the typically safe, tight-knit community. His loved ones say it’s hard to believe it's already been a year.
A permanent memorial was placed near the spot where McNeil was shot and killed.
His best friends, as well as his mother say all of this is still so hard to come to terms with. Joe Lawrence says his ten year friendship with McNeil meant so much more.
"Somebody who was there to support me, and stay positive, and support anything I was trying to do. It wasn't even just tome- it was to our whole group. He was a brother," said Lawrence.
That sentiment is shared through the Facebook group "Memories of Glen". With more than 900 members, people have shared videos, stories, and pictures as they mark one year since Glen was killed.
"It's almost like, it's still not happening. I still wait for his phone call to pop up on my phone- even just a text message to come through on our group chats. It still doesn't feel real at all," said Lawrence.
Robin Davis, McNeil's mother, said she is pleased with how the wheels of justice are turning in her son's case. With a permanent memorial now in his name, Davis hopes people will remember her son for the person he was.
"He loved people. He loved meeting new people. And he was just an outgoing person. It doesn't surprise me that he touched so many lives in such a positive way," said Davis.
As his loved ones prepare to mark this 4th of July without Glen, they are requesting the community to stop the violence, and be there for each other.
"One thing I would love, if we could all just stick together. Do it for Glen. If we're not going to do it for each other, do it for Glen," said Lawrence.
Three teenagers were charged in Glen's murder. Davis stays in regular contact with detectives as the case moves forward.