Family marks five months since teen's death

Dec. 10, 2012 @ 04:40 PM

Balloons filled the air in Marshville the afternoon of Dec. 8 in memory of Shaquille Belk, 19, who died in July after being hit by a CSX freight train.

Saturday marked the fifth month anniversary of Belk's death, which is still being investigated. His family and friends released balloons into the air at 4 p.m. in his memory.

According to Marshville Police Chief Carl Webber, Belk had been out socializing with friends the night he was hit and left for home on foot. How and why he was on the train tracks is still being investigated. He was unconscious but still alive after being hit but later died the afternoon of July 8 at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte.

"Shaquille was just an awesome kid. He was not your average kid, he was more like a grown person," Carolyn McClendon, Belk's mother, said.

He worked at Food Lion in Marshville until he graduated from high school and was respectful of customers, his mom said.  One thing a lot of people remember about him was that he never said good-bye to anyone but instead said love you, she said.

"He was always more concerned about other people than himself. Me and him...that was like my best friend. We were very close. He was a good kid, a very good kid. I really hate that happened to my son," she said.

Belk was her youngest child.  Patrick McClendon, his older brother, was killed in 2006. He also has an older sister and two other older brothers, she said.

McClendon said she was happy to see the turnout of people for her son's vigil on Saturday. She estimates around 50 or 60 people attended the event, which included family and friends. Afterwards, Belk's friends and family got together to further celebrate his life. They plan to later host similar vigils in his memory, one of which may be held on Feb. 17, his birthday. He would have been 20 years old, she said.

Though Belk died in July, he was an organ donor and his organs were able to save four people's lives after his death, she said.