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Jacob Hall's mom opens up at superhero goodbye: 'I don't want to let him go'

The mother of Jacob Hall, 6, who died after being shot on his school's playground, said she imagined her son crying "tears of joy" during a superhero-themed funeral.
/ Source: TODAY

As a succession of mourners dressed in superhero costumes came to pay tribute to Jacob Hall, the first-grader who died after being shot on his school playground, his mother took solace in knowing it was a fitting way to honor her son's memory.

Hall, 6, was mourned by more than a thousand people at a funeral service at Oakdale Baptist Church in Townville, South Carolina, on Wednesday. His mother, Renae Hall, suggested that everyone come in a superhero costume to honor the memory of Jacob, who always imagined himself as a superhero helping others.

"I knew it was going to be Jacob's classmates, friends from all over the place,'' Hall told Janet Shamlian on TODAY. "I didn't want them to be sad."

RELATED: Superhero's funeral honors 6-year-old boy who died after school shooting

Despite the upbeat atmosphere celebrating Jacob's life, it was a devastating day for his family.

Dale Hall, dressed in a Superman outfit, stands before the casket during the funeral for his brother, Jacob, 6, who died after being shot on the playground at his elementary school in Townville, South Carolina. Reuters

"I don't want to let him go, but I have to,'' Hall said. "This is the worst pain I've ever felt in my whole entire life."

Mourners were encouraged by Hall's mother to come dressed as superheroes to honor her son at the funeral.Ken Ruinard / AP

A third of the population of the small town came out to celebrate Jacob's life, with people dressed as everyone from Superman to Wonder Woman to Jacob's favorite, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

More than 1,000 people in the small South Carolina town came to honor Jacob while dressed as superheroes like Wonder Woman, the Power Rangers and Superman. Ken Ruinard / AP

"I would never imagine one small kid would've brought us all together,'' attendee Karissa Mattress, who was dressed as Superman, told Shamlian.

The K-9 unit of the local police came dressed in superhero garb, and the Batmobile even made an appearance thanks to a charity, Heroes 4 Higher, with a mission to inspire kids. A military veteran named John Buckland, the founder of the charity, came dressed as Batman and gave a heartwarming speech.

"I can't help but feel that he's been riding with me in that Batmobile with that wreath for the longest time today,'' Buckland said at the ceremony.

A bullet pierced an artery in Hall's leg on Sept. 28 when a 14-year-old boy began shooting at Townville Elementary School, authorities said. Jacob fought for nearly a week after losing 75 percent of his blood and undergoing multiple surgeries when he went into cardiac arrest.

John Buckland, dressed as Batman, hugs the aunt of Jacob Hall, Rebecca Hunnicut, after speaking during the superhero-themed funeral service for Jacob. Ken Ruinard / AP

Authorities say the teenager first shot his father to death before going to the elementary school. He was charged as a juvenile on Sept. 30 with murder and three counts of attempted murder.

Jacob's teacher, Meghan Hollingsworth, was shot in the shoulder trying to protect Jacob and has made a recovery.

Townville Elementary School held classes Thursday for the first time since the shooting, one day after laying a superhero to rest with a fitting tribute.

"I'm surprised it's not raining out from his tears of joy,'' Hall said.

Follow writer Scott Stump on Twitter.