CALLAHAN, Fla. – The mother of a 16-year-old shot and killed after leaving West Nassau High School with some other students Monday afternoon called him an amazing young man who was never in any trouble.
Deputies said Trent Fort was shot in the chest while in a car with four other students in the Spring Lake Estates neighborhood off Lem Turner Road. He died at UF Health Jacksonville.
Trent’s mother, Paige Hall, said she got a call from the West Nassau football coach saying she needed to get to the hospital, where she got the news that he had died. She said he was a sophomore who loved playing football, kept up his grades up and was described as a jokester who had lots of friends.
“He just wanted to play football. He didn’t care where he went, where he played, he just wanted to play football," said his mother, Paige Hall. “He worked every day, so hard. He wanted to go to college and play ball. He had so many friends.”
A teammate on the West Nassau Warriors also commented on Trent’s uplifting personality.
“When he’s on the field, he’s always serious. But when we’re not playing, he’s always funny, always got you laughing every time," Green said. "If you got your head down, he’ll pick it right up. He was always a good person to talk to.”
Hall said she learned after his death that he recently signed up to be an organ donor and was told his death could help a hundred people.
“His heart was so big. He was so special,” Hall said.
Trent joined a youth group at Anchor Church of God in Callahan about three years ago.
Last night about 150 students, West Nassau’s principal, coaches and others from the school gathered at the church, stood in a circle and shared funny stories about him.
"It was very traumatic when they first got here. When they left, their spirits were a little lighter,” Pastor Dwight Allen said. “He was a precious kid. Everybody loved him.”
Trent had an older brother and younger sister.
“He had other brothers and sisters as well from his dad’s side, and they were younger than him," Hall said. "They looked up to him just as much as his little sister did.”
The family is working to plan Trent’s funeral. Hall said he will be buried in his football jersey.
“Trent, I’m going to miss you brother. Just rest in peace. I love you, man," Green said.
West Nassau had counselors on campus Tuesday for students who needed to talk and the school would be increased security because of the shooting. Backpacks were searched and students were checked with wands as they arrived for class.
Nassau County deputies said three teens -- ages 16 and 17 -- are in custody. As of Tuesday morning, the Sheriff’s Office had not released names or filed charges but said they believe Trent was shot after a confrontation over a drug deal. Deputies added that the boy they believe pulled the trigger had a previous arrest on a weapons charge.
The student body reacted strongly to news Trent was involved in a drug deal when he was killed and rushed to his defense
“We WILL find a way to honor him and show those who deem him a troublemaking kid who got what he deserved that Trent was so much more than his weaknesses. He was strong. Now we’ll be strong for him," one student emailed News4Jax.
Hall said learning your child was killed is the hardest thing a mother could possibly imagine.
“Why did you kill my baby?" Hall asked. “The person that killed my son, his life is ruined and my son is dead. He’s not coming back. It is not worth it. These kids just show these guns around, all this violence. It’s ridiculous and they’re killing each other!”
Pastor Allen echoed her message.
“When is it going to stop?" Allen asked. "There’s an element that’s already around. It doesn’t take a big group to mess up people’s minds.”