Community mourns as one family

Published 10:19 pm Friday, October 27, 2017

More than a hundred men, women and children gathered Friday evening at Magnolia Park in North Suffolk to mourn and comfort each other in their sorrow. Some were friends and acquaintances, others were neighbors and school teachers, but they lit candles as one family.

They came to mourn the death of 12-year-old Israel Parker, son of Deshawn Parker and Dominique Dismuke.

“I feel like God gave me Israel, but I see he gave all of you Israel,” Deshawn Parker said to the other mourners during the vigil.


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Israel Parker died in an accident involving a tractor-trailer cab Tuesday in the 6100 block of Brookwood Drive in North Suffolk, according to a press release from city spokeswoman Diana Klink.

Suffolk resident Quiera Wright and Deshawn Parker hold each other during the candle light vigil held at Magnolia Park in North Suffolk Friday evening for Parker’s 12-year-old son Israel Parker, who died in a tragic accident on Tuesday.

No arrests have been made in connection with the accident, and officials have released no details about what happened. The investigation remains ongoing, and no further information was being released as of Friday, Klink stated in an email.

At the candlelight vigil, children sang an emotional ballad, and others shared powerful poetry, expressing their grief and wishing Israel happiness in heaven.

Israel was a student at John Yeates Middle School and had previously attended Creekside Elementary School. His father said he has received numerous phone calls about the impact his son made at school.

“He really touched lives,” he said. “He touched a lot of lives.”

Creekside physical education teacher Erik Johnson described Israel’s unbridled enthusiasm and determination. He talked about the boy’s “infectious” smile and willingness to help both students and teachers.

Johnson runs The Association, a mentoring group for fourth- and fifth-grade boys at Creekside. He said Israel was an inspiration for both students and adults, including Johnson himself.

“He took on the role of mentor and leader so well that I wanted to look up to him,” he said.

Stephon Parker, Israel’s uncle, said his nephew was always outgoing, smart and motivated. He told the other mourners that his nephew always wanted to do better and for others to do the same.

“Never put yourself at a limit,” he said. “Always keep yourself going. Israel would want that for everyone.”

The mourners raised their candles after the sun went down and then released balloons. The balloons, along with shirts and posters with Israel’s photo, were green, which his father said was his favorite color.

Several mourners were glad to see the community come together as a family connected by Israel’s loving influence.

“This is a great way to celebrate his life,” said Israel’s great-uncle, Ken Powell. “He had to be loved, because there are so many.”

“This is what he wants,” Stephon Parker said. “To come together.”

Deshawn Parker embraced many mourners that held him tight. He said he was grateful for the immense support he has received from the community and to know his son’s legacy will carry on through the lives of those he knew.

“Don’t let Israel’s death be in vain,” he said. “Whatever he gave you or you learned from him, pass it on.”