FORT WORTH -- A sadness hung over the steps outside Fort Worth's Trimble Tech High School Thursday afternoon. Students and staff had just learned a beloved recent graduate is gone.
But his spirit remains strong.
"He was a good fella," said Pastor Kyev Tatum, president of the Trimble Tech Alumni Association and a mentor to DeAndre Tatum.
DeAndre, who went by Dre, graduated from Trimble Tech in 2013. His girlfriend, Tish Davis, is still a senior and a cheerleader at the school. March 13, they were together at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin.
A suspected drunk driver ran over them and more than two dozen others. Davis recovered and returned home. Dre didn't.
Fourteen days after the crash, Dre died in the same Austin hospital where he'd been in a medically-induced coma. His injuries were just too severe.
"It's so sad," Samantha Galaz said outside Trimble Tech. She graduated with Dre. "Honestly, I didn't know anybody who didn't get along with him, and he was just a sweet person."
"He had a lot of friends," she added.
Kyev Tatum said the same thing.
"Everybody loved him," he said. "You could not meet him and not love him."
Kyev Tatum said Dre was a source of strength for everyone around him. His friends and family knew he suffered extensive injuries, but they believed he was strong enough to recover.
"He loved life and he had dreams to become successful in life," Pastor Tatum said.
He said he hopes Fort Worth opens up its heart and helps a hurting student body.
"Love on them as much as you can -- you have to replace that hurt with healing," Kyev Tatum said. "We always tell them, 'Tough times don't last. Tough people do.'"
"Any time the Lord takes away a beautiful flower, he always replaces it with a beautiful garden," the pastor said. "We're gonna make it."
A candlelight vigil for Dre Tatum is being planned for 7 p.m. Sunday at Trimble Tech.