Streetsboro: There was little mention of the 13-year-old boy who allegedly shot and killed his younger brother from the hundreds of people at the Streetsboro Middle School stadium Sunday evening.

Instead, their focus was on remembering the younger brother, 11-year-old Caleb Lishing — a boy with a shy demeanor, inquisitive mind and deep love for the Titanic.

More than 500 people gathered at the stadium Sunday for a candlelight vigil organized by the Streetsboro Community PTA to honor Caleb and his family.

“Caleb never thought he made much of a difference in anyone’s life. In fact, he didn’t think he was very well-liked … We tried our best to assure him that wasn’t the case,” said Martin Lishing, Caleb’s dad. “I wish to God that he could’ve seen, and still see, what you guys think of him … All of you stopped your life to come here and say that he made a difference.”

Last week, police say the 13-year-old stole his grandfather’s gun and shot his brother in what they suspect was a premeditated act.

The Beacon Journal is not naming the 13-year-old, who faces aggravated murder charges as a juvenile, because of his age. In Ohio, children younger than 14 cannot be charged as an adult.

After the incident, Steppingstones Pathway reached out to Streetsboro schools to host an event to support the family, and PTA President Tracy Campbell said she and the parent group stepped up to help. Steppingstones Pathway is a personal and professional development company owned by Caleb’s stepmom, Jackie Lishing.

On Sunday, community members and students poured into the stadium with stuffed animals, which the PTA collected to donate to Akron Children’s Hospital, where Caleb was born. The PTA also handed out candles at the event, although it was too windy to light them.

“I didn’t sleep the first two nights, but I’m processing it,” said 11-year-old Katie Blythe, Caleb’s classmate at Henry Defer Intermediate School, as she clutched a candle walking into the stands. “He was really funny. He always had jokes and puns to tell.”

Sharing memories

Many of Caleb’s young classmates sat in the stands, hugging one another for comfort as eight of his teachers lined up in front of the mass to share their memories of Caleb as a student.

Teachers shared many stories of Caleb, who always expressed a deep enthusiasm for the things he loved. He hated math and loved reading, and he always brought a book to class. One of his teachers said she had to coax him into doing schoolwork by promising to let him read his Titanic book afterward.

Others told stories of his enthusiasm in other pursuits — he always asked his teachers what the weather was like before stepping outside, and he brought a portable radio to school to check for himself. He wore cowboy boots and gloves to class that he refused to take off. He had a love for hands-on learning projects, like when his class had to dissect an owl pellet.

“I’m definitely gonna miss him this week when we watch Toy Story to learn about Newton’s laws, because he had been asking me for weeks when we were gonna do that,” said Samantha Arlesic, Caleb’s science teacher, as she started to cry. “Caleb was a kind soul, and I could only imagine the smile on his face when he saw how many people were here for him.”

Debbie D’Amico, Caleb’s fifth-grade social studies teacher who also had Caleb’s brother for class, said Martin Lishing was always checking up “to make sure we were supporting both boys to be successful.”

“That is why this is so heartbreaking,” D’Amico said. “These boys were deeply cared for and supported by their family and school community.”

Suicidal thoughts

The 13-year-old had a short history of incidents that led him to dealing with police, the most recent involvement just days before he allegedly shot his brother. Jackie Lishing had turned him in to police four days before the incident for being unruly, and the police drove him to a mental health clinic after he expressed he had suicidal thoughts.

It is unclear whether he received treatment at the facility.

“Mental illness is a tragedy for any family,” said Doris Miller, a family friend who said Caleb called her his aunt.

After a pastor from Christ Community Chapel in Aurora and deacon from St. Joseph Church in Mantua said prayers for the family, Jackie and Martin Lishing stepped up to thank the community.

“We’re overwhelmed with such an outpouring of love and support from our family, our friends and all of this community that we acknowledge now as our extended family,” Jackie Lishing said. “Through this unimaginable tragedy, we believe a light will break through and shine again.”

Streetsboro fifth-graders will be wearing Caleb’s favorite color, red, on Monday. The family is currently raising money for new playground equipment to be built in the shape of a ship and named after Caleb to honor his love for the Titanic.

Visit https://tinyurl.com/lishing to donate.

Theresa Cottom can be reached at 330-996-3216 or tcottom@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter @Theresa_Cottom.