SYRACUSE, NY (WSYR-TV) - A Syracuse family wants their 14-year-old son to be remembered as a role model who stood up to violence, after his unexpected death.
Rhameek Tuitt died after collapsing at Percy Hughes School last Wednesday.
His family says they are now working with the school to organize a mentoring program in his name. They want kids on the south side of Syracuse to remember Tuitt like his 8 brothers and sisters do.
“His time was consumed doing something positive. It was no negative things. Me, being where I come from, I wasn't going to allow that,” said Tuitt’s father Roberto Tuitt.
“Often times you hear a lot of stuff about children on the south side who are constantly involved in violence. Rahmeek was the complete opposite. He was a beacon of light to this community,” said Tuitt’s cousin, Selina Boyd.
Tuitt was a mentor for young students and was on a path to success in the "Building Men Club" at his school.
Tuitt’s family said he had asthma, but was otherwise active and healthy, which is making his death much harder to understand.
“The last couple days I'll still be waiting, watching the door seeing if he's going to come in through that door. It's real hard,” said Roberto Tuitt. “He loved playing. He loved playing football. He always said, 'Dad, I'm going to play for SU. I'll play for SU, I'll show you, dad.'”
Roberto Tuitt says Rahmeek's Valley Football coaches plan to retire his number, while teachers and friends honor him at school with a new mentoring program called “Do it, Tuitt.”
“We just want people to remember him for who he was. He was a good person. He had a good heart,” said Tuitt’s aunt, Kisha Tuitt.
The Tuitt family is still waiting to hear what caused Rahmeek's sudden death.
Initial autopsy reports show he may have had an enlarged heart.