NEW CASTLE, Pa. (KDKA) – It’s been one week since the stabbing death of an 8-year-old boy in Lawrence County. Tonight, the community gathered to celebrate the life of Markie Mason, who is being called a hero.

From first-hand accounts, the child was stabbed to death while trying to fight back as well as protect his little brother.

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Markie Mason was a child who dreamed of becoming a member of the SWAT team.

He was murdered while trying to fight back and protect those he loved.

Songs of prayer filled the air at the memorial vigil for young Markie Mason.

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

“A lot of people have asked us, how are we getting through this. I said, look around to look at all the support,” Abdou Saada, Markie’s uncle, said.

“A child at that young age, it really just touches everyone’s heart because it’s a child, no one expects to lose a child,” said Whendi Rao of New Castle.

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The pain of unspeakable grief was evident by the tears and those bright balloons — some with words on the immeasurable loss, all in red, Markie’s favorite colors.

“We wanted to let the family know that we all care, that we’re all here for them,” said Marcia Black of New Castle.

Some that didn’t even know the little boy were here with the family. Everyone at the vigil had heard the story of the little boy whose life was taken senselessly. They wore “our little hero” shirts in his honor.

(Photo Credit: Family of Mark Mason)

The man charged in Markie’s death has a criminal history. He was out on parole for a previous homicide at the time of Markie’s death.

“I’m appalled at that and I think our system is broken. If we would have had a better system in place this would not have happened and we could have saved Markie’s life,” said Janell Aguon, a friend of the family.

“I want to be half the man Markie and Matthew showed us to be that day,” Markie’s uncle told the group.

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Candles, balloons and pins were handed out to everyone here. They have Markie’s picture in the arms of an angel. They also include a white rose to represent the purity and innocence of a life stolen.