Hundreds mourn student who took a bullet for another

By: Laura Geller - bio | email

PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) - Hundreds of people came together to mourn the teen slain when gunfire rang out at a Seton Hall House Party last week.

19-year-old Jessica Moore gave her life to save another.

Hundreds of people gathered Saturday to mourn her loss and honor her sacrifice.

"Greater love has no man than this - that a man lay down his life for his friend," read Nakeisha Vanderpool.

Vanderpool now knows what those words really mean.

She is bandaged and broken but she wouldn't even be here if it weren't for Jessica Moore.

Moore gave her life for her best friend just over a week ago.

"We really love and miss you Jess," she said.

Struggling to speak through a wired shut jaw, Vanderpool battled through the pain, just as her friend did for her.

When gunfire erupted at house party near Seton Hall University last week, Vanderpool was shot in the arm and face.

Moore used her own body to shield her friend but was then shot and killed.

"If there's one important thing that you taught us all it was how to love," she said. "I want to encourage everyone at Seton Hall to continue to love each other, don't stop at all."

A sea of blue shirts flooded Mount Olivet Baptist Church.

Most were fellow psychology major's students who made the drive from the New Jersey university to mourn their loss.

Most of them know the 19-year old as Tennessee, affectionately named after her home state.

"Jess was an angel and now she has her wings," said Moore's roommate Jessica Townsend. "To Jessica, Jess Tennessee, we will not cry because you are gone but we will smile because you have lived."

The number of lives Jessica touched became even more obvious when the pastor asked if anyone had anything to say.

About two dozen people lined up with kind words there were those who grew up with Moore.

"I'm trying not to cry and it's so hard for me not to, I'm just going to miss you so much," said childhood friend Brian Majors.

And those who spoke with her just hours before she was gunned down.

"She said I miss you so much and I said I miss you too," said fellow student Cecily Derrick. "It's just going to be so hard."

They are now struggling to figure out life without their friend by learning from her example.

"Don't ever let any of the pettiness or anything that happens separate us ever because it's not what jess would want," said Vanderpool.

Four other people were shot and injured at that party.

Two men have been arrested in connection with the shooting.

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