Rarely does a name capture the essence of a person.
But when it came to Sunny Patel, friends say “sunny” was the perfect way to describe him.
“He was always so bright and he was just happy all the time,” classmate Alexa Swinerton said.
The 15-year old died from a single gunshot Friday night while working the register at his family’s Mr. Hero restaurant in Cleveland Heights.
Surveillance cameras captured images of a gunman who took an undisclosed amount of cash.
On Sunday, police say a suspect matching his description was arrested at a nearby Dollar General Store.
On Monday, hundreds of people attended Patel’s funeral in Parma. They included several classmates who praised Patel for his humor and work ethic.
“He always tried to help people and he always wanted to work,” classmate Ashleigh Kazeka said. “And instead of going to an Indians game that night he was working--and it cost him his life.”
“I don’t understand why someone would do this to him,” friend Joe Amato said. “He would never harm someone. Never thought of harm.”
At the family’s restaurant on South Taylor Road, the notes and gifts continue to grow.
Patel was a sophomore at Mayfield High School and his parents’ only child. This week students and teachers will be holding a so-called “red out” where they will wear read to show their love for Sunny.
Dedicating this weeks theme to Sunny & the Patel family which will be a Red Out. Sending our thoughts and prayers to you ❤️ #FootballFamily— MHS Student Section (@MayfieldSpirit) October 16, 2016
A GoFundMe account has also been created to help the Patel family with funeral costs.