Emilio Hoffman was prone to pranks and the kind of mischief that drove teachers crazy. He often woke his foster brother up in the middle of the night just to share a bowl of cereal. The Troutdale teen scrunched his face up in self-portraits.
“He was actually a pest,” said his father, Abraham Gallardo.
And they adored him.
The 14-year-old hated to see people sad, friends and family said at his funeral Sunday afternoon. Every prank, every silly-faced selfie was intended to make people laugh.
“You couldn’t help but smile when he smiled,” said Jesse Slick, Emilio’s sixth-grade teacher at Reynolds Arthur Academy. “If you were down in the dumps, he lifted you up.”
It’s been nearly two weeks since Hoffman was fatally shot in the Reynolds High School locker room. On Tuesday, June 10, a 15-year-old freshman brought two guns, nine ammunition magazines and a large knife to the school, apparently prepared to shoot many more.
“The questions play over and over in my head: Why?” said Emilio’s mother, Jennifer Hoffman. “I would give anything to know the answer.”
Hoffman said she will treasure those selfies, the memories that still feel so alive. At Sunday’s service, held at the Good Shepherd Community Church in Boring, she and others told stories about a puckish boy who loved soccer, music and fashion. Hundreds, including the family and pastor Steve Keels, wore red Converse, Emilio’s favorite sneakers.
“You were the beginning of me, of who I was supposed to be,” Hoffman said. “I needed to be your mom.”
Emilio hoped to be rich someday, Slick said. He dreamed of owning a business or becoming a professional soccer player.
As a midfielder and defender on the club team Crystal, Emilio “anticipated his opponents,” said coach Arnaldo Soriano. “He made them work for every play.”
He cut up so much on the field, he sometimes got his teammates in trouble. But he showed great leadership, too, and rose to team captain.
As competitive as he was, his charming side was unmistakable. Kylie Kreamier, a freshman, said she remembered Emilio politely extending his hand and introducing himself the first time they met — a rare practice among middle school boys.
“I remember his laugh, and just good memories,” she said, before heading into the service.
He was sensitive, girlfriend Alyssa Karm told those at the service. He wrote her love letters and cried during “The Fault in Our Stars,” a movie about teen love set in a cancer support group.
Though he did sometimes drive teachers crazy, he was also their favorite student, too.
“He asked me every Monday, ‘Did you miss me over the weekend?’ ” said his science teacher, Deithra Archie.
Archie told the Reynolds class of 2017, Emilio’s classmates, that she knows the coming years will be hard for them.
“But this tragedy does not define you,” she said. “Please live. Have fun. And take care of one another.”
That process, some students acknowledge, will take time.
“I know it’s been a long time (since the shooting),” Cayla Forsythe, a classmate of Emilio’s, said as she studied a photo display in the church lobby before the service. “I went up to the high school and put flowers and stuff up there, but I don’t know. It still doesn’t feel real.”
Emilio’s mom said she knows how many of his friends, teammates and teachers are hurting.
“I promise to hug them tight and check on them often,” she told the gathering through tears. “Through them, I will feel you. I will feel my son.”