WEST ORANGE, NJ - In an outpouring of love and support, Brendan Tevlin's friends, along with the Seton Hall Prep (SHP) community remembered him as an upbeat and positive teen that was always there to cheer them up. United in faith and grief, the dual mass was held on Thursday at Seton Hall Prep by the SHP community to celebrate Tevlin, acknowledge his passing from one life to another and to recognize his death by violence.
Tevlin’s life ended abruptly in the early morning hours of June 26, as he headed home to Livingston from his friend's house in West Orange. Tevlin, 19, who had just returned from his first year at the University of Richmond, was found fatally wounded from multiple gunshot wounds, in his family's 4X4 Land Rover, at 275 Northfield Avenue in West Orange.
The homicide, according to the Essex County Prosecutor's Office, was "targeted." The investigation is active and ongoing.
At the mass, Tevlin's close friends sat together and shared memories of their friend. One said, "He had no enemies—only friends. There are no words."
Another called the group of friends a 'band of brothers,' and said that Seton Hall Prep was their home.
The Tevlin family has deep roots in the local community—Brendan, the eldest lived in Livingston with his parents, Mike and Allison, along with three other siblings. Many other members of the Tevlin family reside in Maplewood.
West Orange Mayor Robert Parisi, who, along with his wife Sheila, are friends of the Tevlin family, told TAPinto West Orange, "It's hard to put into words how horrible I feel today, or how this entire community grieves for what happened. The Tevlin family has been a part of our community in various circles for decades. Brendan was an impressive young man with a lot to offer the world; this is hard to come to grips with. We all grieve for the Tevlin family and offer our prayers."
Tevlin was a lacrosse player at Seton Hall Prep, where he graduated in 2013. He was also a Eucharistic minister, participated in the Kairos retreats with his Seton Hall Prep brothers and was a bagpiper with the Friendly Sons of Shillelagh in West Orange. He also surfed.
"This was a shock to us all," said Tom Tevlin, Brendan's grandfather. "Brendan loved the Prep, and we are touched by the outpouring of love from the Seton Hall Prep community. With God's help, we will get through this."
Rev. James White led the service and scripture passages about love and the beatitudes, along with Psalm 23. In his homily, Rev. White noted that "no answer will ever satisfy the answer to the question 'Why did Brendan die?' Instead, we should focus on 'why did he live,' and to that we have many answers."
Prayers were offered for the Tevlin family—for gun violence, for 'forgiving hearts,' and even for Brendan's killers.
"That's what Brendan would have wanted," said Father Jim.
Tom Tevlin, his heart heavy, turned to the crowd and said, "You just never know what can happen...tell your children, tell your parents, your family and friends, that you love them."
To read TAPinto West Orange’s prior article, click HERE.