January 5, 2012 11:00:00 AM
STARKVILLE -- Funeral and memorial arrangements have been set for Devin Mitchell, who was a junior at Starkville High before his death on New Year's Day.
Mitchell, who was shot and killed in West Point, will be laid to rest at 2 p.m. Sunday at Calvary Baptist Church on North Jackson Street in Starkville.
Visitation is at 4 p.m. Saturday at Bryan Union Hall in West Point.
Police charged Tavaris F. Collins, 31, with capital murder, malicious mischief and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in the incident.
Mitchell, a standout student-athlete at Starkville High, wore No. 32 for the football team. He played running back and linebacker for the Yellow Jackets, finishing his junior season with 34 catches for 772 yards and 10 touchdowns. Mitchell helped lead the Jackets to the Class 5A state title game this season. He was also a member of the baseball and track teams.
Starkville football coach Jamie Mitchell coached Devin Mitchell, 16, during each of the past two seasons. Jamie Mitchell said the team will honor Devin with a locker in its new field house when it opens later this spring.
Jamie Mitchell is not related to Devin Mitchell.
The locker will contain Devin's helmet and equipment and will be enclosed for the duration of what would have been his senior season.
"I've never had a player pass," Jamie Mitchell said. "My biggest prayer is we never have another one. Devin was just like one of my own, just like the rest of the kids. Nothing compares to losing one of your own."
According to reports from the West Point Police Department, Collins mistook firecrackers for gunfire and fired on the teen, who was visiting family at the Ridgewood Apartments on East Main Street in West Point. Collins, who lives in West Point, also was visiting someone at the apartments.
Devin Mitchell will be honored on the field at the Yellow Jackets' first home football game and on Senior Night.
There are plans for a permanent memorial in the locker room but they haven't been finalized, Jamie Mitchell said.
As for Devin Mitchell's jersey number, Jamie Mitchell said he'll leave the decision to Devin's family. The number can be retired, a senior can wear the number each game, or one senior can wear the number each year, Jamie Mitchell said.
According to The Jacket Buzz, Starkville High's student newspaper, the Mitchell family requested Devin Mitchell be buried in his black jersey. Additionally, the team will dress in black jerseys and khaki pants for the funeral.
"Whatever they decide to do, we'll definitely do it," Jamie Mitchell said. "Prayers need to be sent his family's way. They're really struggling, as we'd all be."
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