Family and friends of an 18-year-old high school basketball star fatally beaten in front of his house are remembering his passion and spirit.
Troy Causey, a player on the basketball team at Wilmer-Hutchins High School in South Dallas, died Monday after he was severely beaten outside his home the night before.
His mother, Tammy Simpson, said he lived at the home with a cousin so that he could attend Wilmer-Hutchins for the basketball program.
Standing 6 feet 6 inches tall and weighing 205 pounds, the senior was set to sign with Seminole State College in Oklahoma, where he had received a full basketball scholarship.
Simpson described her son as lovable with the heart of a child.
"Great guy. Great student. Great student-athlete. The tallest kid in the building with the biggest smile," said Wilmer-Hutchins High School Principal Marlon Brooks.
It was a sentiment shared by Elzie Barnett, the high school's athletic coordinator.
“Best big man we’ve had here, basketball wise," Barnett said about Causey. "He was extremely talented. The other kids talked about him a lot, he was a funny kid in the classroom. They enjoyed his presence. He really was a key figure here.”
Causey's temmate, Xavier Legington, remembered him as someone who was "always up."
"He was always smiling, joking, playing around. He was a nice person to be around," Legington said. "I miss him a lot."
Grief counselors were at Wilmer-Hutchins Tuesday morning to talk to students.
A vigil is planned for 7 p.m. outside Wilmer-Hutchins High School Thursday evening. A candlelight service is planned for Friday at 6 p.m., at Willie B. Johnson Recreation Center. Burial services are set for Saturday at Restland Funeral Home and Cemetery.
Barnett said he will be at Thursday’s vigil, along with other coaches and teachers. He expects hundreds of people will show up.
“This whole process has been so sudden, so unexpected, that there’s still some shock value in this," Barnett said. "We’re still trying to come to grips with the fact that Troy is no longer part of our Eagles family. And that’s tough.”
Dallas police are re-interviewing witnesses who reported seeing Causey get into an argument with two people. If anyone has information about his death, please contact police.
Causey was in good health, so the family decided to donate his organs, which have already contributed to saving the lives of several people.
NBC 5's Bianca Castro, Kevin Cokely, and Jeff Smith contributed to this report.