Vigil to mark two years
A candlelight vigil will be held at 9 p.m. Thursday at the O-Reilly Auto Parts store on 16th Street to mark the two year anniversary of the death of James Whitehead.
It will start following the closing of the business where Whitehead was shot and killed by Orange Police Officer Robert Arnold.
Family members were saddened by the lack of people attending last year, but are hopeful more will attend and show their support.
During the vigil, family and friends will take turns talking about the good times they shared with Whitehead. His mother, Diana, intends to sing the Lord’s Prayer although last year the vigil was particularly hard for her and she spent the time crying.
It has been a “rough” two years for the Whitehead family as they cope with his loss.
‘Life goes on,” said Brandy Boyette, Whitehead’s sister. But added, “Most of the time it’s still rough.”
Sometimes it is a song on the radio that brings back strong memories of her younger brother and happier times. But, she soon slips back to the present and realizes he is gone and heartbreak is a part of her life once again. To help deal with his loss, she makes chicken spaghetti which was his specialty and loved by all.
Boyette now finds joy in Whitehead’s five-year-old daughter HeavenLeigh.
HeavenLeigh has a lot of her father’s traits. Not only is she considered tall for her age, but has his laugh. She also has a love of music.
Whitehead was shot and killed by off-duty Orange police officer Robert Arnold. Whitehead had tried to return an auto part, but the store would not accept the part back. Arnold who was in the store with his 14-year-old daughter attempted to intervene when Whitehead became loud and belligerent.
Although 9-1-1 had been called there was an altercation in the parking lot. As a result, Whitehead was shot in the chest by Arnold and died, according to reports.
Photo: James Whitehead served in the Marine Corp. He was later shot and killed by an Orange police officer.