Hundreds attend vigil for Tampa teen killed swimming in Ocala quarry

Zachary Newton was a senior at King High School
Posted at 12:03 AM, Jun 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-02 15:40:25-04

Hundreds gathered in Tampa to honor the memory of high school senior who inspired many both on the football field and in the classroom. 

Zachary Newton, 18, died Saturday after going swimming with friends in a lime rock quarry in Ocala. 

Marion County deputies responded after witnesses said Newton went under water and never resurfaced. 

About 200 of his friends, family members and fellow students held a vigil at King High School Thursday night. 

"To see the support, that lets us know and is comforting to know that he touched a lot of lives and he had a lot of people that cared about him," said Joshua Newton, Zachary's brother. 

Loved ones shared stories, sang songs and tearfully prayed in a circle on the football field. 

"Just a beautiful dude, smile on his face at all times, picked me up when I was down," said friend Mylo Hines. "One of my close friends. I hate that we lost him but he's in a better place now."

Joshua Newton told ABC Action News about that devastating moment he got the news Saturday. 

"When I got the phone call, I was in shock," said Joshua Newton. "When I heard the fear in their voice, I knew it was real."

"He had words that would heal you on the football team," said teammate Kelijha Doward. 

Family and friends say Zachary's inspiration stretched far beyond the football field. 

Zachary volunteered at MOSI for several years, was an "A" student and would often offer to help feed the homeless through Young Life ministries on the weekends. 

"There is no limitations. Some people thought that 'hey football is my life' or maybe 'grades are my life' and Zach knew that no matter what you set your mind to you can do," said Joshua Newton. 

Zachary Newton's funeral will be held Saturday at Wilson Funeral Home in Tampa.