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Friends, family mourn Richmond man shot to death at own party

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MECHANICSVILLE, Va. (WTVR) - Friends and family came together to remember a 24-year-old man shot dead at his own party earlier this week. 

Dozens, many wearing Nate Ratigan's signature plaid shirt, Converse sneakers and fedora, gathered outside his family home in Mechanicsville Friday night.

Ratigan's friend, Brett Dickerson, said he had "respect for every and anybody” and that he was such a good guy that his life should not have ended so tragically.

The crowd bowed their heads in silence and prayed to "Amazing Grace."

Nate’s sister, Rebecca, said he celebrated his 24th birthday on Sept. 8. She and others said that despite his young age, Ratigan had accomplished a lot and given so much.

"I was out of work for three years, and he knew we were struggling and he said 'Kathy, if you need help with your rent, I`ll help you,'" Kathy Pappas, another of Ratigan's friends, said.

Ratigan's life was cut short Sunday morning. Police said four men crashed Ratigan's party at his home in the 300 block of West Marshall Street. When he led them out, he was shot in the chest and died.

“My heart is broken," Rebecca Natigan said. "It takes nine months to create a life and these people took my brother`s life without a thought.” 

The group ended the evening with lit candles -- a symbol of Nate's spirit brightening everyone's life he touched -- saying he was in a better place.

Rebecca Ratigan said a funeral service was held for Nate earlier Friday. She says he will be cremated, and his ashes will be placed in a locket that she and his girlfriend vow to wear forever.