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Balloon release honors employee fatally shot at Dollar Tree

LAWRENCE, Ind. (WISH) — Community members gathered Friday night at the Dollar Tree on Pendleton Pike to release balloons for Jasmine Bennett.

Bennett was fatally shot Monday by a former employee after an argument broke out between the two at the store.

Bennett’s mother Dina Ford says everyone knew she was a special person and says she could light up any room with her smile. Ford adds that she hopes the store may eventually be dedicated in her daughter’s honor.

Ford said, “It’s a little overwhelming. I knew it was going to be big, I just didn’t know how big. There was a lot of support. Everyone loved Jasmine. Every time she talked to somebody, it always put a smile on their face, and she loves that because she always had a smile on her face.”

The balloon release came hours after Jalen Thomas, 21, of Indianapolis, was formally charged with Bennett’s murder and the unlawful carrying of a handgun. On Thursday, a magistrate had ordered Thomas to be held with no bond.

Indigent counsel was approved Friday, and James J. Comerford was appointed as Thomas’ public defender, online records show.

Judge Angela Dow Davis of Marion Superior Court 27 on Friday denied a request for cameras in the courtroom, online records show.

An order from the Indiana Supreme Court gave permission for cameras to be present in state courtrooms beginning May 1.

FOREGROUND: Jalen Thomas (Provided Photo/Marion County Sheriff’s Office. BACKGROUND: Dollar Tree located in the 10500 block of Pendleton Pike in Lawrence, Indiana. (Provided Photo/Google Street View)

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