Westlake community lights more than 100 luminaries to honor slain Kent State student

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WESTLAKE – Luminaries will be lighting up a Westlake neighborhood all weekend in remembrance of a young college man killed in random home invasion.

Eighteen-year-old Nicholas Massa will be laid to rest Saturday February 13 after being fatally shot in a Kent State University off-campus apartment last Sunday.

Friends and neighbors of the Massa family have been taking the loss hard. The Massa’s and many of their neighbors have lived in the same area for decades.

“It’s just tragic, it’s beyond words, everyone is heartbroken,” said Beth Vecchio.

Beth says they decided to do something special for the family Friday night when calling hours were held because they knew it would be a difficult time for them.

Around 5:30 p.m. they battled through heavy snow squalls to place more 100 luminaries on Meadow Lane and several other surrounding streets in Westlake; so that the Massa’s would feel surrounded by love and light when they returned from the funeral home.

Green and white ribbons to represent “Westlake pride” were also tied around trees and street light posts.

“There are no words to comfort them,” said Beth, “But if this small little thing gives them a bright spot of the day that’s really all we wanted.”

Friends Jacob Plocica and Megan Adornetto also helped out in the effort and remembered Nick as charismatic, kind and hilarious guy who was always smiling.

They say the burial Saturday will be extremely painful for everyone in this tight knit neighborhood but they want Nick’s family to know they will always be there to offer support.


Kent police have arrested and charged two teenagers in connection with the murder and are still looking for the third suspect.

Click here for the GoFundMe page started for Nick’s family.

CLICK HERE for continuing coverage.

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