VIDEO: Student killed in tragic shooting honored at Wade Hampton - FOX Carolina 21

VIDEO: Student killed in tragic shooting honored at Wade Hampton graduation

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Makiya Hawkins (file/FOX Carolina) Makiya Hawkins (file/FOX Carolina)
Students wear purple to honor Makiya Hawkins (Source: Greenville County Schools) Students wear purple to honor Makiya Hawkins (Source: Greenville County Schools)
GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Makiya Hawkins, a senior at Wade Hampton High School, was only weeks away from graduation when she was fatally shot behind a Greenville County recreation complex.

Sheriff Will Lewis said Hawkins was an innocent bystander in the gang-related shooting in the early-morning hours of May 14. The tragedy occurred behind the Pavilion on Scottswood Road after Lewis said a crowd of people congregated who were dispersed from a nearby house party.

Lewis said as a parent, the shooting was a particularly difficult case for him.

The soon-to-be graduate had already received an acceptance letter from South Carolina State University.

After the incident, grief counselors were made available at Wade Hampton High School for faculty, staff and students coping with the sudden and unexpected loss. Students wore purple, her favorite color, to honor Hawkins.

And at graduation on June 1, a seat was left open in her memory, draped with a purple sash.

The Greenville County School District shared video of the tribute to Hawkins where the class speaker acknowledged her absence.

"With as much of a difference as we've made in our community, sadly we were not able to save one of our own," the student said. "Makiya Hawkins, who by all accounts epitomizes what it means to be a part of the class of 2017, is not able to celebrate with us today because her life was cut too short."

Classmates honored Hawkins at the ceremony by wearing purple ribbons on their gowns.

The Beyond Differences Youth Council held a press conference on Friday to call for justice for Hawkins. Several members were on the dance team with her and asked those in the community who know what happened to come forward.

"We're very divided on politics and religion, when altogether there is only one race - and that's the human race," said council president Asya Sheffield. "We should come together and try to really bring awareness to this life that we lost and try to be one for once."

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