Sinton – Gathering in a sea of maroon and white, members of the Sinton community held a digital candle walk on Monday for Gavin McFarland, 16, who was killed early Sunday morning.
Gavin was a rising junior who played wide receiver and tight end on the football team and was a hurdler on the Pirates’ track squad.
“He was an integral part of our track team and a very good football player,” said Sinton High School Principal Albert Byrom. “[Gavin was] somebody who was going be something really special as he progressed through his athletic career.”
Byrom stated that Gavin was a very outgoing person who was fun-loving, charismatic and known by all.
“He was a friend to all and is somebody everyone is going to miss, not only on our campus but in our community,” Byrom said.
The shooting incident shocked and stunned the Sinton community. Counselors and clergy have been brought to help Sinton students deal with their grief.
According to the San Patricio County Sheriff’s Office, they received a call around 1 a.m. Sunday about two bodies lying in the middle of County Road 732 in St. Paul.
Gavin and his father, John John Gabriel “Gabe” McFarland, 47, had left an event at the VFW hall in Sinton that night and followed a truck that was driving erratically to try and get some information to identify it.
The sheriff’s office said that the truck stopped, and when Gabe got out of his vehicle, a fight occurred with the driver of the pickup. When Gavin got out to help, the passenger of the truck shot both men, then they drove away, leaving the father and son for dead.
The father was transported to Pirate Stadium by EMS where he was taken by Halo-Flight to Spohn Shoreline Hospital in Corpus Christi.
Gavin died at the scene.
His father was in attendance at the candle walk in a wheelchair.
Before the walk proceeded to Sinton High School, a prayer was held for the McFarland family during their time of grief.
As many made their way to Pirate Stadium, members of the community lighted the night with their phones and battery powered candles.
At Pirate Stadium, the McFarland family gathered onto the field where Sinton Athletic Director Michael Troutman spoke about Gavin’s impact on the community and how dearly he will be missed.
Troutman proceeded to give the McFarland family a Sinton football helmet.
As the vigil came to an end, a community member left a bouquet of roses in the center of the field in honor of Gavin.
Byrom thanked the Sinton community for coming out and supporting the McFarland family.
“The vigil, the walk and gathering around the stadium, it was breathtaking ... that the community would come out and offer their support to the families,” he said.
“I’m very confident the community will continue to support the family and all the young people that are directly affected by it. And then, you know, support those that don’t quite understand when things like this happen.”
A fundraiser has been started on Facebook for The Gavin McFarland Memorial Scholarship Fund.
The Facebook page states, “Gavin McFarland passed from this earth on June 23, 2019, at the age of 16. Gavin would have been starting his junior year at Sinton High School where he was very involved in football, track and FFA. This has left a big hole in the hearts of not only his family but the Sinton community. This scholarship fund has been created in memory Gavin and the legacy he left behind.”
According to the Sinton ISD Community Facebook page, the first district blood drive of the 2019-2020 school year would be in memory of Gavin McFarland. The blood drive was held Wednesday, June 26, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Sinton High School.
San Patricio County Sheriff Oscar Rivera said that officers are interviewing several suspects they believe are involved in the shooting and expect to have an arrest soon.