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Church members mourn death of Jesse Watlington, boy struck by lightning during football practice

12:56 AM, Oct 8, 2012   |    comments
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TAMPA, Florida - Church members at a Southwest Florida church said they have shed a lot of tears over the death of 11-year-old Jesse Watlington. He was taken off life support at Tampa General Hospital Sunday after he was struck by lightning.

"It's just the reality of the whole thing setting in. And it's just a tough thing. It's a tough moment for all of us," said Dr. Richard Powell, pastor of McGregor Baptist Church in Ft. Myers.

On the Facebook page "Pray for Jesse Watlington," a post just before 2 p.m. states, "Our precious little son Jesse is now with our Lord and Saviour Jesus."

Jesse was struck by lightning Wednesday during football practice at Southwest Florida Christian Academy. We're told he was the first one out on the field. The boy was later brought to TGH in critical condition. According to his parents, lightning struck Jesse in the chest, then exited out of his left foot and right leg.

At a news conference Friday, they described their son as a sweet, quiet kid who everyone loved.

"[It's] totally devastating. Completely devastating," said Jesse's father, Chuck Watlington.

Jesse's parents said they are thankful for all the thoughts and prayers for their family. There is no word right now on funeral arrangements. 

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