WAXAHACHIE — No matter what lies underneath their Christmas tree or how the New Year is rung in, an Italy family is hurting after a 24-year-old man, brother, son and recent college graduate was killed in a Dallas suburb.

According to dpdbeat.com, Dallas Police identified Bobby L. Wilson as the victim of a shooting that took play Saturday, Dec. 17 in the 200 block of West Montana Avenue. Wilson was found at approximately 2:50 p.m. with multiple gunshot wounds.

For the last two and a half years, Wilson was employed at Waxahachie-based Kinro Composites plant No. 241. It was there that co-workers, family and friends gathered Thursday afternoon for a memorial service, balloon release and dedication of a tree and bench in Wilson’s honor.

“There were a lot of people up here who were close to him and he was a really good guy. We wanted to do something special for Bobby and his family,” said John Owen, general manager at Kinro Composites.

Clark Mitchell, a Kinro Composites plant manager, then spoke off the cuff and from the heart about Wilson, noting the 2011 Italy High School graduate had a zest for life and carried a smile that could rival any other.

“Bobby will be greatly missed by all of us and I know none of this will blow over anytime soon. This is going to be something we remember on a daily basis for the rest of our lives,” said Mitchell, just before formally dedicating the tree and bench in Wilson’s name.

He then explained that the tree, which was partially donated by Roland’s Nursery, is a Bradford Pear that will lose its leaves in the winter, but, in the spring, will be green with white flowers.

“It’ll be covered in white flowers, which was kind of our reason behind picking the Bradford Pear because we all know the smile Bobby had with those pearly white teeth. This tree kind of reminded us of Bobby,” Mitchell said.

The Greenery also helped with a discount on the bench installed in front of the tree that can be used for employees to sit on during their break or even just to remember the life lost.

Mitchell then read one of Bobby’s social media posts from just a few weeks before his murder, which now serves as words to live by for many at Kinro Composites and in the Wilson family.

Wilson wrote that, “I find it messed up that I only thank God when something goes good and pray when I am in trouble. For now on, I am going to pray every night before I go to sleep and thank Him every morning when I wake up.”

Mitchell then added that “moving forward from today, we need to be thankful for what we have each day and don’t take it for granted because we don’t know who we will lose next. Hug your loved ones tight and your friends here at work and your friends outside of work. Because we never know. Bobby was one who we never thought would go and it is very, very heartbreaking that he is not with us anymore. We will miss him and he has left a huge void here at [plant] 241, in life and at home. Just remember the good times.”

After blue and black balloons had been released in Wilson’s honor, several in attendance took an opportunity to recall different aspects of Wilson’s life and then led the group in prayer.

“As long as you believe in God, everything is going to be alright,” said Arthur Walker, a saw operator at 241, as he closed the memorial with a heartfelt prayer. “[…] Lord bless everyone here today and give them the courage to understand why this happened. We don’t know why it happened but You know why it happened.”

According to the Dallas PD’s blog, the investigation is still ongoing. Anyone with possible information can contact DPD Homicide Detective Casey Shelton at (214) 671-3612 or casey.shelton@dpd.ci.dallas.tx.us with case reference number 299828-2016.

The family has setup a GoFundMe to help pay for funeral costs, which can be found at gofundme.com/rip-bobby. There will also be a Homegoing Celebration for Bobby “B-Wil” Wilson held Tuesday, Dec. 27 at 11 a.m. at the Mr. Gilead Baptist Church, located at 106 Harris Street in Italy.

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Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith

(469) 517-1450