Hopkinsville community mourns the loss of a promising young life

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HOPKINSVILLE, Ky. (WKRN) – Fall Friday nights are the nights that fans all over cheer for their favorite high school football team.

It’s the first game for the Hopkinsville High School football team since the death of one of their players.

Elijah “EJ” Austin died last weekend in an accidental shooting.

For EJ’s mom, Brandee Austin, it’s been a mother’s worst nightmare. Burying her teenage son, who had so much promise.

“It’s been a living hell. My heartbeat is gone,” said Austin.

EJ was a three-sport athlete, starting on the Varsity team as a Freshman. Even attracting attention from colleges at 14-years-old.

But for his grandparents, it was the way EJ carried himself off the field.

“He was a role model. At 14 he was a role model, not only for freshmen, but for sophomores, juniors, seniors, probably some parents. But he was a role model,” said Dave and Cindy Thomas.

At Friday night’s game against Calloway County, a moment of silence was held for EJ. His number 11 was painted in the endzone.

A team, a community, and a school all grieving together.

“That’s the only thing that’s keeping us up, I think. All the prayers people are sending our way,” said Dave and Cindy Thomas.

Elijah’s funeral will be held Sunday at 2:00 p.m., on the campus of Hopkinsville High School.

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