SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - More than 1,000 students and friends of Conor Reynolds turned out for a special candlelight vigil to honor the memory of the 17-year old Cathedral soccer star.
Conor was fatally stabbed on Saturday night during a birthday party at the Blue Fusion Bar & Grill on St. James Avenue in Springfield.
Bishop Timothy McDonnell, Conor's father Liam and aunt Sara were among those who stood up at the podium in front of the huge crowd to express their condolences to the student body and thank all in attendance for coming out in his memory.
Sobs could be heard resounding throughout the crowd the instant Liam stood up to speak.
"I never knew how many people loved my son," Conor's father began.
He then pleaded with the young students to stop the violence and not let other young lives be lost.
"Please, I beg you, stop this senseless violence," he urged the crowd. "Just stop, OK. It's a waste. His life is gone, but his memory is with us forever."
After he retired to his seat, an eerie silence filled the room, broken only by the sobs of devastated students and the light from 1,000 candles in the crowd.
Mario Hornsby Sr., whose son Mario Hornsby Jr. was murdered in May 2008, and Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno were also among the speakers at Monday night's vigil.
"You have to stand up and let people know that this will no longer continue, that we will no longer accept this. This is not a way of life," Hornsby Sr. said.
Calling hours for Conor will be held on Thursday from 4 to 9 p.m. at Hafey Funeral Home on Belmont Avenue in Springfield. Funeral services will be Friday morning at 11 a.m. at Holy Name Church on Alderman Street in Springfield.