The town of Burlington, Iowa remembered 16-year-old Kedarie Johnson who was found dead in an alley Wednesday night. 
 
Hundreds of family, friends and members of the community gathered to remember and honor the 16-year-old, someone they called kind, compassionate, and full of joy.
 
Dozens of candles were lit and flowers laid out, where just days ago the Johnson’s body was found.  Instead of messages of sadness at the vigil, the community shared a celebration of his life.
 
A friend of Johnson’s, Theresa Grant said, “He would just make you laugh on the worst days of your life, and it was just joy everyday, like even if somebody was mad he would just still be laughing everyday.”
 
Around 200 people came out to pay their respects, including classmates and friends he made at the Maple Leaf Center. An employee there says, he taught dance classes and was always around to help others. That compassion is what  family and friends say they will always remember about him. 
 
“All he did is want to be kind to people, and it’s just so sad how they could just do that to him.” said friend, Destiny Brewster. 
 
Community members hope this tragic event can lead to something positive. At the vigil, many spoke out about ending the violence in their community. 
 
Staff member at Burlington High School, Teresa Ioerger said, “Confusion among the students, like how could this happen especially to who it was; and I just feel that we will be strengthened by this as a community.” 
 
Director of the Maple Leaf Center, Nathan Williams said, ” If good can come out of it through anything, through showing that so many people have come together today to show their love for Kedarie. I can only hope that good comes out of it.”
 
It’s clear to see the loss of Kedarie Johnson will be felt among the entire community. 
 
“Kedarie we miss you. We love you. You’ve got so many friends and family that have been here today to show you how much they love you,” said Williams.  
 
A funeral will be held on Wednesday at Burlington High School.