Rest in Peace, Maurice Lewis

It is the most heartbreaking part of being an educator. You work with so many students, and will inevitably lose some. Disease, addiction, freak accidents, violence on the streets. I have lost students before. But never under the circumstances that claimed the life of my student, Maurice Lewis.

It is the most heartbreaking part of being an educator. You work with so many students, and will inevitably lose some. Disease, addiction, freak accidents, violence on the streets. I have lost students before. But never under the circumstances that claimed the life of my student, Maurice Lewis. **

Before you read the events that led to the death of Maurice, I need you to put yourself in his shoes. Imagine what it would be like to be in his position. To experience what he experienced in the final moments of his life.

It was around 11 PM on a Friday night, and Maurice was doing what most 19-year-old kids do, hanging with friends. He was on his way to drop one of them off at home. As their vehicle was slowing down to turn a corner, one of his friends wanted some air and decided to put his window down. At the same time, a man who was standing out on the block noticed the window lowering. He assumed that the opening window meant the passengers in the car were about to perform a drive-by shooting.

His first reaction? To strike first. He then lit the car up with 10 bullets. One of those bullets hit Maurice in the back of his head. Maurice was rushed to Cooper Hospital where he slipped into a coma on Saturday morning and passed away on Sunday afternoon.

Now imagine what his family, friends, and community are experiencing. Everyone that knew and loved Maurice found themselves asking questions that have no answers. Why did this happen to such a great young man? What is wrong with our town and our world? Why is Maurice dead because someone rolled a window down? How do we move forward without him? What do we do to honor his memory and ensure that this does not happen again?

And that's the thing. Maurice was a great young man. He was the person always encouraging his friends to do the right thing. He was the person that his friends turned to for advice and comfort in times of need. He was the young man participating and volunteering his time at his church to help other kids. He was the son working at McDonald's and going to school to do more for his family. He was a beacon of light for everyone that he knew and came into contact.

Our town of Millville, NJ, where I spent years teaching and where my wife and I are raising our family, has slowly been changing. This is not the first instance of gun violence in our city, but this has rocked our town to its core. A young man, with no connections to anything malevolent, murdered for no reason.

We are struggling right now. We are hurting. We are angry. We are confused. We are devastated. We are speechless.

But we are not voiceless. We are not powerless. We are not lost. We are not blind. We are not retreating. We are not giving up.

We will stand together as a community. We will fight for change. We will discover the power and strength of our united voices. We will honor the memory and life of Maurice by doing everything we can to ensure that this will not happen again.

**ALL INFORMATION & DETAILS RELATED TO THE PASSING OF MAURICE WERE PROVIDED BY HIS IMMEDIATE FAMILY. ADDITIONALLY, THIS POST WAS ENCOURAGED AND APPROVED FOR RELEASE BY HIS IMMEDIATE FAMILY.