(UPDATED THURSDAY MORNING with details on services, vigil)
7:14 PM: Eight days have passed since 15-year-old Derek “Peachy” Juarez-Lopez was stabbed to death at Westcrest Park, the day before he was to start his sophomore year at Chief Sealth International High School. Police have said they believe the motive was robbery, but there’s no word of an arrest, nor even a suspect description, so far. When we asked this week for an update, their official statement remained that it is an “active and ongoing investigation.” We also asked Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis to elaborate on how the park is being handled; he replied, “We have stepped up our patrol presence in that area, not only because of the recent tragedy, but also to curtail the property crime issues and other nefarious activity that we’ve experienced there.”
The memorial service for the victim, meantime, is planned for Sunday
night, 6 pm, in Columbia City, according to the Sealth school bulletin, which does not specify the location but does say a campus vigil to celebrate his life is also being planned, date TBA. And the crowdfunding drive to help his family has passed its initial goal; its organizers, Sealth staffers who have worked with Derek and his family, have updated the page to say that Derek’s family wants “to personally thank everyone for the incredible outpouring of love that they have felt over the past week.” They added, “As community youth workers, we thank you also for the beautiful love that you have shown them.”
ADDED 7:11 AM THURSDAY: Just received from Sealth principal Aida Fraser-Hammer:
There will be a vigil this Friday, 9/15/17 in commemoration of the short life of Chief Sealth sophomore Derek Juarez-Lopez who was murdered by an unknown assailant on September 5th. The vigil will be held at 6:00 PM in front of the auditorium. Everyone is invited to come out in support of the family and students who now mourn the sudden and tragic loss of this thoughtful and considerate young man.
In addition, the family has announced that they will host a memorial service in Derek’s honor on Sunday, 9/17/17 from 4:00 to 5:00 at Columbia Funeral Home at 4567 Rainier Ave South. There will also be a public viewing on Saturday from 10:00 to 8:00 at the same funeral home.