Stephen Matory seemed like a high school hero during his football playing days at Yazoo County High School.
He turned out to be a real life hero when he joined the Army National Guard after graduating. At age 24 he had already earned the Army Achievement Medal, the National Defense Medal, the Army Service Ribbon and the Parachutist Badge. His latest assignment was serving as the transportation management coordinator for the Echo Company in the Special Forces Airborne Group.
Matory’s life was tragically and senselessly cut short last week when he was killed by a bullet that was fired during a confrontation he wasn’t even involved with.
The Yazoo County High School Class of 2013 is hosting a candlelight vigil and balloon release Thursday, June 25 at 7 p.m. on the U.S. Highway 49 frontage road near Yazoo County High School. Participants are encouraged to bring red, black or white candles or balloons.
Two suspects have been charged in the Yazoo County native’s murder.
XaJavier King, 19, has charged with murder and aggravated assault. King is charged with shooting Matory at Summer Park Apartments in Jackson on June 18.
Chaela Edwards, 18, has been charged by the Jackson Police Department with accessory after the fact tor murder.
Investigators say Matory was an innocent bystander when he was killed.
Gov. Tate Reeves described Matory as a “brave Mississippian” in a statement.
“Sgt. Stephen Matory was a decorated soldier who served our country with honor and integrity,” Reeves said. “I join the Mississippi National Guard in grieving this tragic loss. Please join me in praying for him and his loved ones.”
A full military service funeral will be held for Matory on Saturday. Visitation will be held Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Westhaven Funeral Home in Jackson.