Family, friends and neighbors gathered outside a Charleston West Side home Monday night to honor a man who lost his life protecting others.
The family of Michael Cassell, a man murdered out of revenge, held a candlelight vigil in his memory outside his home on Red Oak Street.
“We are here to celebrate a man who was a true hero, he was an American through and through, he loved his country, he loved his wife, he loved his children, he just loved life in general,” said Tonja Jesko, Cassell’s mother-in-law.
Michael’s sister-in-law Bobbie Johns said he was a very selfless man.
“He was a kind, sweet, loving man who had it in his heart to do anything he could in his power and will to protect and take care of everybody,” said Johns.
And that’s exactly what Cassell was doing Feb. 10 when Patrick Price broke into his home and shot and killed Cassell. He was protecting his family and a family friend.
Police say Price was upset with Cassell for contacting Child Protective Services about allegations of sexual abuse involving a young girl. Price shot Cassell several times before turning the gun on himself.
But there was no mention of that evil event at the vigil as those from the neighborhood gathered to pray and sing “This Little Light of Mine.”
Shortly after 7 p.m., Red Oak Street was filled with people who Cassell had influenced in one way or another. Johns said Cassell not only took care of his family, but also the neighborhood.
“They never went without. He always fed them, took care of them,” said Johns. “He went out of his way to do anything for anybody. If you wanted it and he had it you got it.”
Jesko said the victim touched many lives in a good way: “He loved to give joy to people.”
It was a night of remembering, not of how he died, but of how Cassell lived.