JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Family and friends came out to celebrate the 18th birthday of Khalil Kirkland Thursday at Onslow Memorial Park.
Kirkland died in January after being beaten and ran over on Gum Branch Road in Jacksonville.
Community members remembered his life and the legacy he left behind by launching dozens of balloons with personal messages written on them.
Khalil’s mom said not being able to see his smiling face on his birthday leaves a hole in her heart.
“18 years ago i gave birth to him and it’s like a part of me is missing,” said Michelle Figueroa-Williams.
Khalil was very active in the Northside high school community. He was involved in the JROTC as well as the baseball team.
His parents said he had high aspirations of becoming an engineer in the Air Force.