Jonathan “Jonny” Smith’s friends described the 12-year-old as a “trickster, clown, a goofy dork,” but above all he was a bright light.
“Jonny was a creative boy, and he had a big imagination, and that imagination would change your day from a sad one to a very bright one,” said one of Jonny’s friends during a vigil for him Wednesday night at Faiss Park in southwest Las Vegas.
The 12-year-old died Monday after he was struck by a vehicle while crossing South Fort Apache Road, from Faiss Park, near West Maule Avenue, the Metropolitan Police Department said. He was with two other children when the crash happened, one of whom also was struck by the car and suffered minor injuries.
People in a large crowd held up candles and lit cellphones during the vigil.
Wind gusted through the crowd, which Jonny’s family and friends said was just like his playful attitude.
“He was nothing short of a gentle breeze, so I know these gusts of wind is him blowing out these candles, because had he been here, he’d been blowing each and every one of them out,” said Mike Mahayosnand, the father of Jonny’s friend, Anthony.
Mahayosnand, speaking through tears, told the crowd he was thankful for the time he spent with Jonny and for the outpouring of love from the community.
A GoFundMe page raising money for Jonny’s family and funeral expenses was posted Tuesday night. In about 24 hours it had raised $13,438.
“On behalf of the family, they thank you as well,” Mahayosnand said. “Remember him every sunny day, every rainy day, every star in the sky. That boy is light, his life was bright. He brought everyone here joy, I know it.”
Jonny’s principal at Faiss Middle School, Roger West, and his former principal at Tanaka Elementary School, Tony Davis, also spoke at the vigil.
“As I went around from class to class and heard about Jonny,” West said, “just the first, no matter what class it was, the very first thing they said was he was funny.”
Davis said that when he was at school on Wednesday, he spotted a heart someone had drawn on a wall with Jonny’s name in it.
“It just reminded me how much of an impact the time he had at Tanaka had,” Davis said. “While he doesn’t even attend Tanaka anymore, he’s still very much a part of our school and forever will be.”
After the vigil, attendees covered poster boards with messages to Jonny and his family, including “love you like a brother,” “I’ll never forget you” and “he was a great friend.”
Earlier in the night, Mahayosnand reminded the crowd to live like Jonny did.
“Smile every day, joke every day,” Mahayosnand said. “Share that, pass it on. It’s infectious. That boy was so full of life. He moved on to share more of himself with everybody.”