On Saturday, family and friends honored the life of a Ft. Campbell soldier killed while on leave.
Authorities say a Harriman teenager shot and killed Blount County native MarStratton Gordon last Sunday. Police say an argument turned deadly after a 15-year-old fired a single shot at MarStratton.
The Army soldier was visiting his girlfriend in Harriman when the shooting happened.
On Saturday afternoon, relatives held Gordon’s funeral at Heritage High School, where he played football.
Relatives described Gordon as charismatic and outspoken, with a knack for making people laugh.
"Since he was very little, he always had a sense of protection,” MarStratton’s cousin Benjamin Gordon told 10News after the funeral. “Always wanted to watch out for others and defend the weak."
Benjamin said it was a tragedy on all sides.
"To know that [the teenager] so young, and now his life is going to be dramatically changed forever…” he said. “As well as... our family lost a loved one."
The 15-year-old Harriman boy faces a juvenile petition accusing him of second-degree murder in MarStratton’s shooting death.
"Blount County has been through a lot in the last few weeks,” Blount County Veterans Affairs Officer Nathan Weinbaum said.
Weinbaum did not know MarStratton personally, but like dozens of community supporters, law enforcement officers and veterans alike, he attended the funeral to thank him for his service.
"They gave him an Army Achievement award and a good conduct medal,” he said.
For now, MarStratton’s cousin Ben is finding comfort in his memories. He said sorting out the emotions will have to wait.
“I mean, you can't cope. I can't cope right now,” he said. “I know his parents can't understand. Today made it real."
The family will lay MarStratton to rest on Tuesday at his interment at the East Tennessee Veterans Cemetery.