LULING, Texas - The Luling community paid its final respects to two teens who were killed in Caldwell County two weeks ago. Now, the two will be laid to rest.
The day started with a long processional of emergency vehicles through the town of Luling. First responders from across Central Texas came to honor 18-year-old Klayton Manning and his 16-year-old cousin, Landin Robinson. Just a few weeks ago Manning, a volunteer firefighter, was in a different kind of parade, one honoring graduating seniors, according to Eric Lugo.
"I remember how happy he was that day, excited, blowing the fire truck horn and all that, and now he is gone. It's funny how life can change in that short of time,” said Lugo.
FOX 7 Austin was told that Manning wanted to be a firefighter in San Marcos. The processional ended at Luling's Eagle Memorial Stadium where Manning once played football.
Alicia Castillo Cruz said she knows both teens and that Manning was her son’s teammate. "He was the funniest kid ever, he'd light up the room ... he'd walk into. He actually played with my son, alongside, for 4 years in football, I'm here to honor him and be with my son,” said Cruz.
Manning and Robinson were shot and killed on June 9 while riding down Tenny Creek Road in an ATV while looking for reports of smoke in the area. 34-year-old Bryan Haynes of Austin has been arrested for their deaths and is now charged with capital murder.
"It's a sad moment, his departure, but we are going to celebrate his life ... we are going to coach in his honor, make sure Landin is honored, there is not going to be another Landin Robinson, we are going to miss him,” said Earl Dix, Robinson’s former coach.
After saying that, Coach Dix presented Robinson’s family with his jersey. FOX 7 Austin was told that Robinson was looking forward to a new school year in Ohio with his family.
Later, one of Manning's teaches told FOX 7 Austin of the gift he was given, a flag that his former student brought and now remains in his classroom.
"He loved his truck, he was always wandering around, if you needed a ride, he'd give you a ride, like I said, he'd always look for others, and tried to take care of everybody else, except himself,” said Plutarco Castro.
Community members and family say the two teens were best friends.
Manning had just graduated with the 2020 class at Luling High School and was known as the "unofficial next mayor" of Luling. Those who knew him say he had an outgoing personality and a true love for helping out any event.
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Robinson was on his way to becoming a junior at Malvern High School in Ohio. He's being remembered as a sweet, loving person who was very protective of his family and friends.
The service concluded with both families being presented with the flags that draped the two caskets. Manning's firefighter helmet was given to his family and a proclamation was given to Robinson's parents. A radio dispatch last called was also made, followed by the traditional ringing of a fire bell.
"The community of Luling is very tight-knit, they're extraordinarily supportive of one another, they're definitely shepherding over this family and helping them through this difficult time,” said Martin Ritchey, Homeland Security director for the Capitol Area of Governments.
The funeral came to a close with a final salute from twin rows of first responders. It was done as the caskets and the families left the stadium for a private burial service.
GoFundMe accounts have been set up to help families with funeral expenses.