ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — Family members joined friends and other community members to honor the memories of four victims killed in a house explosion in north St. Louis County Friday.
A tower of balloons, flowers, and stuffed animals still stands outside the site where 18-year-old Damario Cooks, his 16-year-old cousin Travell Eason and their friends, 21-year-old William Jones, and 17-year-old Christopher Jones were killed.
A circle of family, friends, and community members huddled together, lit candles, said prayers, and sang “Amazing Grace.”
Diamonte Cooks, the older brother to the late Damario Cooks, described the four victims.
“Not an ounce of hate in their heart,” said Diamonte, who survived Friday’s explosion.
Diamonte remembered his brother and likened him to a “teddy bear.”
“You know, he’s just probably one of the best people to lean on when everything was going on because he was good at listening,” said Diamonte.
The home is located near the intersection of Parker Road and North Ranch Drive. Some community members have driven by the burned-out home to drop off donations to support the victims’ families.
Khris Rice drove a group of Eason’s friends to the vigil so they could show their support.
“It’s a little dramatic for the kids in the neighborhood,” he said. “They kind of grew up with the guy, went to school with him, played basketball with him, stuff like that.”
All four victims were remembered for their joy of spending time with each other, trying to create music, and playing basketball.
Terrell Cooks and Seneca Mahan face multiple charges including second-degree murder in the deaths of the victims.
Investigators alleged the two men directed the victims to manufacture explosive materials from fireworks and alleged that led to the fire and explosion.
Family members of the victims dispute those allegations. They hoped the support shown at the vigil help cement the memory of the victims in the way they remember them.
“They had a lot of love in their heart to share for everybody,” said Diamonte. “We just want to be here to make sure everybody remembers that.”