Wake County

Hundreds gather in Holly Springs for LGBT teen killed in NC 55 accident

When one of his classmates was getting picked on, he told her that she would always have him as a friend.

That was the kind of person Scout Undercoffer was, friends and family members said Monday night during a vigil for the 14-year-old Holly Grove Middle School student fatally hit by a car last week.

Scout was transitioning and went by the name Olivia before being Terry, and then Scout, according to a classmate.

“He was a 100 percent unique individual,” Scout’s mother, Brenda Undercoffer, said. “A sweet, smart, creative, funny and courageous child. He was extremely bright, and he challenged us on everything from our beliefs in gender stereotypes to why he should have a later bedtime.”

Scout was fatally hit by a car on N.C. 55 in Holly Springs on Wednesday. Police have said the driver will not be charged because Scout entered the road unexpectedly and the driver had no time to stop, The News & Observer previously reported.

At least 200 people gathered in Womble Park in Holly Springs for Monday’s vigil. The crowd, some in bright colors, others still in work clothes, included young people who knew Scout from school, their parents, and community members there to show their solidarity.

Stuart Campbell said he had known Scout since the first grade, when Scout still went by Olivia. He said Scout was his first friend.

“She came up to me and was just the most welcoming person I had ever met,” Campbell said.

Scout’s parents reached out to the LGBT Center of Raleigh to set up a scholarship fund in Scout’s name. Contributions can be made on the lgbtcenterofraleigh.com donations page by typing “Scout” in the “In Honor of” section. People who donate by check should write “Scout’s Scholarship Fund” on the memo line, the center said on its Facebook page.

Scout’s mother said her child was about to become “one of the world’s most fierce LGBT advocates,’ according to the Facebook post.

At the vigil, she also urged children to sit next to the person they see sitting alone at lunch and stand up for the person getting bullied.

Scout’s wake is set for 1 p.m. Sunday at Apex Funeral Home.

“It is a celebration,” of Scout’s life, said Beau Undercoffer, Scout’s father. “We want bow-ties, we want suspenders, we want Hawaiian shirts.”

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Ashad Hajela reports on public safety for The News & Observer and The Herald-Sun. He studied journalism at New York University.