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On Thursday night friends, family and neighbors joined together to honor the memory of Stephen Halton Jr., a young father of two murdered on his way to work at the Cleveland Clinic.

A vigil for Stephen was held on Lakeshore Boulevard not far from where he was gunned down Saturday.

While the pain is still unbearable, Stephen's family says they are now relying on faith and the community to bring his murderer to justice.

"We did get the book bag back and the only thing that was taken was a phone," explained his father, Stephen Halton Sr. "They actually killed my son and all they stole was a telephone. ... Your family could be next. Nobody is exempt to what has happened here."

Stephen, who worked as anesthesia technician, was just days away from accepting a new IT position at the hospital.

"He was a great joy, he was just energetic and an ambitious young man ... a young man that's a go-getter," said Alvin Hallmon, a coworker. "He was just a great young man, and you know it's just senseless. ... You know we're all hurt, we're real hurt."

Stephen's sister says he was also about to start taking ministry classes, following in the footsteps of a long lineage of pastors and preachers in their family.

"What Stephen desired to do was help people. He always wanted to be a blessing unto other people," said his sister, Tanesha Halton. "If it cost my brother's life to save someone else's ... to be an example for someone else that's alright."

A bright life with so much potential never to be realized.

"I used to think when I would see it on TV that this wouldn't happen to me or it's a shame," said Stephen's father. "Never thought that it would be so close or happen to my own son, but it did."

Stephen's family has set up a benefit fund at Charter One Bank in his name to assist with funeral arrangements and other costs.

He'll be laid to rest Saturday at the Pentecostal Church of Christ at 10515 Chester Ave.

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