Vigil held for slain Alabama Christian Academy student

Published: Jul. 13, 2021 at 5:55 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - An emotional vigil was held Tuesday at Alabama Christian Academy to honor the life of 17-year-old rising senior Leiah Holmes.

She died Monday after being shot in the 4200 block of Delmar Drive. A homicide investigation is ongoing.

More than 100 people showed up at the school to honor her. A lot of tears were shed and a lot of hugs were given at the vigil, which was organized by the school the day after her death.

Leiah’s family was among those at the event, sharing their thoughts and hugs with everyone in attendance.

“It just meant a lot to the family just to see that type of love shown to my daughter,” said Leiah’s father Christopher Holmes.

The vigil has allowed friends, family, and school staff to grieve their loss and to share memories about the rising senior.

“Last night we actually opened up the school til a little after 11 for students to come up here, and we wanted to be able to do the same thing today,” said the school’s principal, Julie Taggart.

“I think whenever something happens, whether it’s a celebratory moment or a very tragic moment like this one is, just to be together is the first place we want to be,” said Greg Glenn, head of Alabama Christian Academy.

The Holmes family who attended the vigil were able to share an embrace with Leigh’s friends and school faculty in attendance.

“I went through every emotion you could think of from being hurt, to being upset, to just being angry, which I shared with the faculty and students in there. I mean, how do you feel when something like this happens,” Holmes said.

Those who remember Leiah remember her love of food, bright personality, big smile and passion for cheerleading.

“Just an amazing, amazing, sweet, bright spirit. Great cheerleader, just your typical like ‘If you don’t get up on your feet and start yelling, I’m going to make you want to’ and she certainly did,” said Taggart. “So things like that are really going to be missed, that smile and spirit.”

It’s unclear who took Leiah’s life or why. Police are asking anyone with information to call CrimeStoppers at 215- STOP, Secret Witness at 625-4000 or MPD at 625-283.

“It was senseless. Nobody ever thinks it’s going to happen to them until it happens. Just emotionally it’s been all over the place,” Holmes said. “I hope and pray that they find whoever did this.”

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