EDMOND, Okla. — More than two dozen people gathered at an Oklahoma church for a vigil for Nex Benedict, a nonbinary teenager who died a day after a fight in a high school bathroom.

The vigil at All Saints Episcopal Church in McAlester was organized by McAlester Rainbow Connection. It was one of two Friday night vigils in Oklahoma, the first of more than a dozen vigils scheduled across the country through Monday.

Nex Benedict, a 16-year-old Oklahoma student, died the day after a fight in the bathroom of an Owasso high school.

The 16-year-old Oklahoma student identified as non-binary and used they/them pronouns. Three girls, who were bothering Benedict and some friends, attacked the teen for pouring water on them, Benedict told police in a video released Friday.

The teen’s mother called emergency services to the home the day after the fight, saying Benedict’s breathing was shallow, his eyes were rolled back in his head and his hands were curled, according to audio also released by Owasso police. .

Matt Blancett, who organized the vigil with Rainbow Connection, an LGBTQ+ group, said it was important to hold a vigil in McAlester because of the 2020 murder of Dustin Parker, a transgender man.

“It shows people that we have a community, that we’re here and we’re not going anywhere,” Blancett said.

All Saints priest Janie Koch said it is important for people to reach out for support.

“It’s very, very important, given that the whole range of emotions is changing, to take care of each other, to be aware of each other,” Koch said.

In audio of the call to police, Benedict’s mother, Sue Benedict, said she wanted to press charges. In the hospital video, the responding officer can be heard explaining that the teen started the altercation by throwing the water and the court would view it as a mutual fight.

According to a police search warrant, Benedict’s mother indicated to police on Feb. 7 that she did not want to press charges at that time. Instead, she asked police to speak with Owasso High School officials about problems among students on campus.

The Feb. 9 search warrant, which was filed in court on Feb. 21, also shows that investigators took 137 photographs at the school, including inside the girls’ bathroom where the fight occurred. They also collected two stain swabs from the bathroom and recovered records and documents from the students involved in the altercation.

While the two-week order states that police were looking for evidence of a felony murder, the department has since said that Benedict’s death was not the result of injuries sustained in the fight, based on preliminary autopsy results.

The police department has said it will not comment further on the teen’s cause of death until toxicology and other autopsy results are completed.

Additional vigils are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday in several Oklahoma cities and others have been held or are planned in several states, including California, Washington, Minnesota, New Jersey, Texas and New York.

By Sam