A Columbus boy died Wednesday after being struck by lightning over the Memorial Day weekend.
Evan Elwood, 8, was with his parents at a weekend family gathering in Baton Rouge, La., when a storm forced everyone to go inside, said Beth Lucas, the public relations spokeswoman at Heritage Academy Elementary School, where he was a second-grade student. When the weather appeared to have calmed, the family went back outside, and Elwood was hit.
He was in critical condition at the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at the Lady of the Lake Hospital in Baton Rouge until he died of his injuries Wednesday afternoon.
Friends and members of Elwood”s school community met Wednesday at the Heritage Academy gym planning to pray for his healing, but the gathering turned into a memorial service after his death. Grievers shared tissues and long hugs as they remembered the second-grader. They sang “I”ve Got Peace Like A River.”
Shawn Parker, senior pastor at Columbus First Baptist Church, spoke about Evan”s life and offered consolation about his death.
“As he drew his last breath, on the other side angels were waiting for him to take him into heaven,” Parker said. “Death is simply falling asleep and moving into God”s presence.”
Chad Kingsbury, the youth minister at Columbus First Methodist Church, counseled community members to work together to cope with the tragedy.
“I would advise us to cling to God and cling to each other,” he said.
Funeral arrangements have not yet been made.
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