MIAMI (CBS4) – Students filed in to Miami Jackson Senior High School fresh faced after winter break. But for many of them, coming back to school also means facing the realization that their classmate, sophomore Bryan Herrera, will not be here.
“I feel a little empty, a little empty. To come here to school today and him not to be here, it doesn’t feel normal to me,” Bryan’s friend Dwayne Manning told CBS4’s Natalia Zea.
Another friend, Thalia Baker agreed.
“Today will be kind of hard, not seeing him in the hallways.”
Herrera was shot and killed while he rode his bike near NW 11th Avenue and 39th Street in Allapattah three days before Christmas. He was heading to a friend’s house to work on a school science project.
Fellow student Steven Cano was in disbelief when he heard the news.
“I just couldn’t believe it when I heard from it. I just couldn’t believe it,” said Cano.
“He was nice. He didn’t mess with anybody. Didn’t look for problems with no one,” said classmate Michael Salvador.
Jackson High School Principal Carlos Rios read a special announcement before class saying he welcomed them back to the second half of the school year with a heavy heart. He also thanked students and faculty for their support, on behalf of Bryan’s family.
The school brought in grief counselors to help the kids cope with the pure injustice of a good kid’s life cut short.
“Bryan was a student who was very involved. Somebody who cared about his future; cared about his education and that’s what makes it really tough,” said Principal Rios.
Rios said he and the students are doing everything they can to find whoever killed Bryan. They’ve passed out flyers, along with Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho. They are also trying to raise money to increase the reward for tips leading to the shooter’s arrest.
“I think as long as that danger’s out there, our kids are not safe in this community.”
Students and faculty are planning a big rally for Saturday where they’re going to go through the streets of Allapattah passing out flyers and urging anyone who saw something to call police or Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS.