“It was a very upsetting situation,” Desiree Scales of the Orange Police Department told BuzzFeed News.
Ellison told BuzzFeed News that while he was sitting with Kazzie, the 18-year-old said he didn’t know what he was going to do because he supposed to graduate from Little Cypress–Mauriceville High School less than a week later.
“I said, ‘You are going to walk!’” Ellison told BuzzFeed News. “Your mom and dad will have front-row seats looking down from heaven, and I’ll stand in their place. I’ve got your back.”
Ellison said the accident and the family stayed with him, especially since his own 18-year-old daughter graduated on Friday.
Kazzie told BuzzFeed News he could not describe how much the standing ovation meant to him.
“Seeing Officer Ellison there to congratulate me meant the world to me,” he said. “It was so nice to see that he actually showed a genuine care for me and my family’s situation instead of us just being another ‘case.’”
Kazzie said that he has received “never-ending” love and support from his community since his parents’ death.
“I’ll never be able to thank enough some very few people that stayed with me through the days and as well as everyone that helped me in any way at all and all the people praying for me and my family,” he said.
Kazzie said that even though his parents were not at the ceremony, he knows they are proud of him.
“My parents talked in the last month how proud they were of me for graduating, and not just for graduating, but how proud of me they were for the man I have become,” he said. “And knowing all of this, truly warms my heart with joy.”