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Bibi Cervantes, center, hugs Melissa Tangtong as Christian Gott of Moorhead talks about Joel LaFromboise during a remembrance Wednesday night at Romkey Park in Moorhead. Dave Wallis / The Forum
Bibi Cervantes, center, hugs Melissa Tangtong as Christian Gott of Moorhead talks about Joel LaFromboise during a remembrance Wednesday night at Romkey Park in Moorhead. Dave Wallis / The Forum

'He was a good kid': Friends gather to remember LaFromboise

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region Park Rapids, 56470

Park Rapids Minnesota PO Box 111 56470

Joel LaFromboise's friends wore red and black Wednesday night when they gathered to remember the lanky kid who brought a smile to Romkey Park.

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Red, to symbolize anger and frustration; black, the color of emptiness and grief.

LaFromboise, 17, was killed by a shotgun blast June 20 after he entered a stranger's apartment late at night.

The incident happened across the street from the park on Moorhead's east side, where his friends gathered for the memorial on the basketball court where LaFromboise was a fixture.

The man who shot him, Vernon Allen, told police LaFromboise struggled with him and grabbed the barrel of his .12-gauge shotgun.

"He was a good kid," Roynesha Ames said. "He didn't deserve to die like that."

Allen, 47, has not been charged; authorities say the investigation continues.

The brief memorial began with a prayer circle, in which a Native American prayer was offered, and remembrances from his friends.

Anger alternated with tearful sentiments.

"Joel was a sweetheart," Ames said, adding later, "He brought a smile to everybody at the park."

Some of the anger was aimed at LaFromboise's assailant, with several saying he should have fired a warning shot instead of a lethal blast to the youth's chest.

Christian Gott, 18, the memorial's organizer, lashed out at people who made anonymous accusations against LaFromboise, someone they never knew, on The Forum's online discussion boards.

"The cruel and disgusting comments made me sick to my stomach," she said.

Dameon Young will remember LaFromboise's loyalty.

"He would have your back and stick with you through thick and thin," Young said.

"This is a way for us to vent, us kids," Gott said as the memorial drew to a close.

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