Mourners will gather Monday afternoon to remember a Temple 16-year-old killed in a shooting earlier this month.
“Sevean Fleming’s passing at the age of 16 on Sunday, November 6, 2022, has been publicly announced by Harper Talasek Funeral Home Temple in Temple,” the funeral home said in obituary for the teenager posted online.
A visitation for Sevean will be held at 1 p.m. Monday at the funeral home, 500 W. Barton Ave., followed by a funeral service at the establishment at 2 p.m. Burial will follow at Hillcrest Cemetery.
Sevean attended Western Hills Elementary School, Bonham Middle School and Temple High School, according to Temple ISD.
“Sevean Fleming of Temple, Texas was born on Sept. 12, 2006, to Lori Rodriguez and Frederick Fleming,” his obituary said. “He passed from this life Sunday, Nov. 6, 2002, at the age of 16.”
The teenager “loved sports at a very young age, and at the age of 8 years old, began playing football, basketball and baseball,” the obituary said. “While attending Bonham Middle School, he played quarterback and went on to play offense and defense positions for Temple High School Jr. Varsity.”
“Sevean was full of life, always joking and playing around. He was quite the class clown.”
The teenager started his first job at age 15 working in a local fried chicken restaurant.
“Sevean was the ‘light’ of the room and lived life ‘His Way,’ the obit said. “He will be deeply missed by family and friends.”
“Sevean’s family would like to extend a special thank you to their family and friends for all the love and support they have been given during this difficult time.”
“Sevean was loved by many.”
The Temple Police Department said the 16-year-old was gravely wounded in the shooting on the evening of Nov. 3 and died Nov. 6 at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center-Temple.
The city did not release his identity and has appealed to the Texas Attorney General’s office to withhold the information as requested by the Temple Daily Telegram, according to a letter from Deputy City Attorney Charla Thomas dated Thursday.
“The City requests a ruling from the Attorney General’s office whether the responsive information…is subject to an exception to disclose pursuant to 552.108(a)(1) of the Texas Government Code because the release of the information would interfere with the detection, investigation or prosecution of a crime,” Thomas said. “The criminal matters documented in the attached report are pending and have not yet been released. Release of the witnesses’ identities may subject those witnesses to intimidation or harassment or harm the prospect of their future cooperation in the ongoing investigation.”
The Telegram’s open records request, filed with the city on Nov. 7, did not ask for the names of any witnesses involved in the investigation — a main reason cited for withholding information.
“The responsive records contain the identity of the person who reported activities over which the local government body has local criminal authority, and the subject of the information does not already know the informer’s identity,” Thomas said. “The informer’s privilege is intended to protect the identities of those individuals who report violations of statutes with civil or criminal penalties to ‘administrative officials having a duty of inspection or of law enforcement within their particular spheres.’ To the extent the records identify an informant of civil or criminal activity over which the city has law enforcement or other administrative authority, the city asserts that the responsive documents are confidential by law and must be withheld.”
A GoFundMe account posted on Nov. 4 — the day after the shooting — seeks to raise money for the family of Sevean.
“Sevean Fleming, a 16-year-old from Temple, TX, is in the hospital in critical condition from a gunshot wound,” the initial post said. “A teammate, a son, and a friend to many, Sevean has brightened the lives of countless people. Please help support the family of Sevean during these difficult times, and send your thoughts and prayers.”
The fundraiser, which seeks to raise $10,000, has garnered $560 in donations as of Saturday. No updates have been posted since Nov. 4.
The shooting incident occurred at about 7:13 p.m. Nov. 3 at Jones Park in the area of South 23rd Street and West Avenue H.
A few minutes later, at 7:19 p.m., Baylor Scott & White Medical Center-Temple personnel advised Temple Police that a 16-year-old male with a gunshot wound was at the hospital, officials said.
Bell County Precinct 3 Place 2 Justice of the Peace Larry Wilkey said he pronounced the Temple 16-year-old dead at the hospital Nov. 6. He said he ordered an autopsy with the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences in Dallas.
A juvenile was in custody in connection with the shooting, police said. His identity is withheld by authorities as is routine in juvenile cases.
“No other arrests have been made at this time,” Temple spokeswoman Kiara Nowlin said.
Bell County prosecutors have said they have not determined whether they will seek adult certification for the juvenile suspect, a legal move that prosecutors use in felony cases involving juveniles accused of a homicide. In such an instance, the suspect would be prosecuted under the adult legal system and would be publicly identified in court proceedings.
Juvenile protection laws set in place to safeguard juveniles accused of a crime prevent the release of their identity. However, the names of deceased individuals are typically released by most law enforcement agencies once next of kin have been notified.
Nowlin previously said the release of the name of the deceased would interfere with the detection, investigation or prosecution of a crime.
“The information at issue relates to the victim of a crime who was 18 or fewer years of age at the time any portion of the crime was committed and is, therefore, not public under the act,” she said. “Law enforcement records related to a child are confidential by Texas law, and the media is not among the persons or entities identified in the relevant statute as having a special right of access to such information.”
The Texas Code of Criminal procedure offers confidentiality measures to protect victims of crime dealing with family violence, sexual assault or abuse, stalking or trafficking.
Several police departments in the area — including the Belton Police Department — have released the names of teenage homicide victims.
“We try to be respectful of the family of victims and allow them to notify other friends and loved ones prior to us releasing the names of deceased victims,” city of Belton Spokesman Paul Romer previously told the Telegram. “It’s common for the public to find out on social media before we release the information.”
A fundraiser set up for the family of Sevean Fleming is at https://www.gofundme.com/f/donate-to-support-the-family-of-sevean-fleming.