BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (WOOD) — The Battle Creek community is hurting after learning a recent high school graduate was the victim in Monday night’s deadly shooting.

Police confirmed 17-year-old Chris Williams died after being shot at Arbor Pointe Townhomes off Jackson Street. As investigators are still searching for those responsible, family, friends and neighbors continue to mourn.

“He was always amazing. He always said ‘hi.’ He always had a kind word to say,” said Virginia Platek, who taught Williams during his freshman year at Battle Creek Central High School. “He was just one of those kids where you knew they had that personality where they can go places.”

Platek said Williams as a freshman wasn’t like any freshman.

“There was just this spark in him,” she said. “There was something inside him that you just kind of knew he was a good person.”

That’s why the news hit her harder.

“When Chris talks about family, he doesn’t mean just his blood family,” Platek explained. “Looking at the posts on Facebook, you can see how many people he touched and influenced — people who were a part of his extended family.”

People like Tina Harouna-Maiga and her family got to know Williams personally and through the sport he loved: football.

“He was an amazing player,” she said. “When he was on the field, he was on the field. That’s all he thought about. He didn’t think about the people in the stands. He wanted to show people what he can do.”

But the Bearcat who bore the number 56 during his senior season last year still made time to mentor Tina Harouna-Maiga’s youngest son, Travon Harouna-Maiga.

“If I feel down, he’ll give me encouragement,” he said. “During workouts or when I was on the field, he usually gets down in a three-point stance and … tell me to get past him. Whenever I don’t, we keep doing it over and over. … So he was a good coach.”

Williams was considered someone who gave his all through his actions beyond the field and his words beyond paper. Platek was drawn to tears when reading an excerpt of an essay he wrote for her class many years ago. Using a memory from his youth football days, he articulated how much those he loved meant to him.

“I ran toward the touchdown,” Platek read. “I looked over and my cousin was running with me, recording it. It was the happiest moment ever. And that is why I think family is the most important thing in life. Because they’re there when you need them.”

Investigators say no arrests have been made, nor do they have any suspect information at this time. Anyone who knows or has seen anything is urged to call the Battle Creek Police Department at 269.966.3322 or 269.781.0911 or Silent Observer at 269.964.3888.