NEW ORLEANS - Dozens gathered Thursday to remember a man who touched many lives, yet lost his own.
Clardie Ellis, 28, was gunned down in front of his home at Willow and Leonidas on June 7.
The recent Southern University of New Orleans graduate leaves behind a seven-month-old son, and a legacy.
“He definitely left a legacy here, and his funeral will not be sad. It's going to be a big celebration. Because I know where he is. He's with the Lord right now,” said Ellis’ mother, Djuna Brown.
Ellis was taking classes at SUNO this summer as he began to work on his masters degree in psychology. He mentored youth at the Center for Hope in New Orleans East and worked with the youth ministry at St. John Baptist Church.
His killer is still on the loose.
“For a person to kill him cold blooded like that, rather than me be angry with them, I'm going to say prayers for them,” said Brown.
Those who knew Ellis say they want to continue his legacy of helping the youth, in an effort to stop the cycle of violence.
“We have to end this senseless violence, I mean just senseless to gun down somebody who had such a promising future,” said Dominique Fields Johnson, Ellis’ sister.
“We need to invoke change. We need to be working together for that change to take place,” said Tamara Jackson, Silence is Violence director of victim and community outreach.
Brown believes the shooting was the result of a “personal matter,” but would not elaborate, except to say it is not drug related.
“Not all incidents are due to criminal activity. Sometimes it's just senseless violence and our community needs more love,” said Erica Maye, Ellis’ cousin.
Now, Ellis’ family is praying for justice as they celebrate a life that was taken too soon.
Funeral services are scheduled for 11 a.m. next Thursday at St. John Baptist Church at 8541 Pinola St. The public is invited to attend.
If you have any information that could help police find Ellis's killer, call Crimestoppers at (504) 822-1111.