Virginia authorities said last week they had arrested a juvenile in the death of Joshua Rone, the Bartlett Yancey football player who was shot and killed Sept. 18 following a fight at a county fair near Danville, Va.
According to published reports, the Pittsylvania County Sheriffs Dept. said it had charged the teen with murder and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. The department declined to name the suspect because he is a minor.
Deputies also declined to provide further information, citing their ongoing investigation, reports said. Efforts to reach a department spokesperson have been unsuccessful.
For Rone’s family, the arrest was an important step toward closure..
While it won’t “bring him back” or “take my pain away,” Rone’s mother, Christina Gomes, said, “at least it’ll bring some peace.”
Gomes said she cried when she got the news.
“I was thanking God they caught him,” she said. “I just wanted justice for Josh. But I did have mixed feelings. I want everyone involved (to be charge).”
Gomes, who said she has spoken with sheriff’s officials, said she understands that the person arrested was the alleged shooter, but that more arrests may be forthcoming. She said she has been told that authorities have made use of video evidence and witness information in putting together their case.
The sheriff’s dept. has been tight lipped about circumstances surrounding the shooting. Gomes, though, said that she understands the gunfire resulted when her son, an athletic 300-pound football lineman, stepped in to help a friend who had been attacked by a bunch of guys.
“There was a whole group of them he was trying to pull off his friend,” she said of the fight that occurred as the Danville-Pittsylvania County Fair was about to close for the evening.
As her son, a high school junior, and his friend were leaving after the fight, someone shot her son in the back, she said.
“He didn’t deserve that,” Gomes said.
The suspect has been charged with first degree and second degree murder in addition to the firearms charge. A first court appearance had not been set as of late last week.
Rone’s decision to aid a friend in need that night surprised no one who knew him. He has been remembered for his gregarious, engaging personality and his natural affinity for attracting and cultivating friends. It was that devotion to friendship, those who knew him say, that drove him.
Rone didn’t know it would cost him his life, a speaker at his September funeral told the crowd. “But he knew one thing: ‘My friend needs my help,’” he said.