ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The community honored St. Petersburg sailor Mohammed “Mo” Haitham, who was killed in a suspected terror attack at Naval Air Station Pensacola, with a candlelight vigil at his hometown high school on Monday.
- Vigil for fallen sailor "Mo" Haitham held at Lakewood High
- 20 balloons released to represent how old he would have turned Monday
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“Let me be clear,” said Mayor Rick Kriseman. “The loss of Mo Haitham is the whole city’s loss.”
Hundreds of supporters showed up at Lakewood High School for the vigil. Mo’s friends and family wore white t-shirts bearing Haitham’s photo.
Mo's mom Evelyn Brady at the candlelight vigil wearing a t-shirt with her son's photo.
“We’re out here supporting and paying our condolences to a very brave and heroic young man,” said Lakewood High Assistant Principal Susan Alvaro.
Haitham along with two other sailors were killed by a Saudi Arabian lieutenant who was training at the base on December 6. Mo’s family said he was shot while running towards the gunman to try and stop the attack.
Haitham was a track and field star at Lakewood High. After the candlelight vigil, everyone walked two laps on the track in Mo’s honor. That’s 800-meters, which was Haitham’s favorite race to run.
Mo’s mom, Evelyn Brady, said she could feel her son with every step she took.
“I was just feeling his presence,” she said. “I was feeling the wind and just feeling him running alongside me saying, ‘go momma, go.’”
At the end of the vigil, the family released 20 balloons for Mo’s birthday. That’s how old he would’ve turned on Monday.
Brady said her son’s funeral is scheduled for Saturday at 11 a.m. at First Baptist Church in St. Petersburg.