WASHINGTON PARK, Ill. – Balloons in hand, friends and family gathered at the Roosevelt Homes public housing complex to remember and celebrate the life of 13-year-old Johnny McCline.

McCline was killed Nov. 19 in a drive-by shooting.

“He was the life of the party,” Kysha Davis, Johnny’s mother, said.

Orange balloons, Johnny’s favorite color, were flown and candles were lit spelling out J9, the teen’s nickname.

“I got a lot of support from the community,” Davis said. “If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t know what to do or I don’t know where I’d be.”

Johnny was a seventh grader at Mason-Clark Middle School in East St. Louis. Davis said her son was just like any other teenager.

“He liked to play football and make music videos,” she said.

Three others were also injured in the Nov. 19 shooting, including some other East St. Louis School District 189 students.

“The fact of that anybody would shoot in a crowd of children,” Davis said. “They some cowards and they need to turn themselves in because I want justice for my baby.”

KB Moochy, a close friend of Johnny’s, kept a mournful perspective on the violence.

“He just wanted his life,” Moochy said. “He had to grow more, so he could know what he wanted to become, and he didn’t get the chance to tell us that, because he didn’t get that chance.”