When sophomore Anthony White, 15, struggled to make friends at Central High, he said Marckel Norman Ross offered encouraging words.
“I knew four people here,” said White of Upper Marlboro. “He told me it would get better as I go along. He encouraged me to make new friends.”
White learned in chemistry class Tuesday morning that the classmate he said had “a way with words” was gunned down on the way to school. Ross of Capitol Heights was 18 years old.
Prince George’s County police responded about 6:50 a.m. Tuesday to the 6100 block of Old Central Avenue in Capitol Heights where there were resident reports of a body on the sidewalk, later identified as Ross. No suspect has been developed as of Friday, according to police.
White joined hundreds of Central High School students Friday to release balloons in Ross’ memory in his favorite color — light blue. The balloons were meant to reach Ross in heaven, said Doreen Hogans, a Central school counselor.
Students held balloons as they walked a lap on the track around the school’s football field, while some held banners that said “Stop The Violence” and “Remembering Marckel Ross.”
Central High Principal Charoscar Coleman told students that Marckel “will forever be a Central High School Falcon.”
He said the mood in the school has been “somber“ and “reflective” and students have rallied around each other for support.
“Our children are our greatest resource and we expect that when we send them to school they’re going to come home safe and sound,” Coleman said.
Elizabeth Ross, Marckel Ross’ mother, said she was at a loss for words at the number of students who came out to honor her son Friday.
“If anyone out there knows anything, please talk,” Elizabeth Ross said. “I cannot rest. I cannot move forward.”
Capt. Raphael Grant of county police District 3 said he stresses that sources who have information can remain anonymous and detectives need something to give them a break in the case.
“We really need the public to come forward,” Grant said. “Right now we’re taking any kind of lead.”
A 10 a.m. Sept. 20 viewing is scheduled at Jericho City of Praise Church in Landover, 8501 Jericho City Drive, followed by an 11 a.m. funeral service, Coleman said.