It should have been Cole Miller’s time to shine, but instead thousands turned out in Brisbane to mourn a young life cut short by a single punch.
And the 18-year-old had much to look forward to.
The promising water polo player had just graduated from high school with a Queensland Academy of Sport scholarship ahead of him.
‘It was about to be Cole’s time to shine,’ Billy Miller said at a rally to honour his little brother on Monday.
‘Cole was about to live out his dreams with his family and friends by his side.’
Tears flowed as Billy spoke, with father Steve at his side, before more than 2000 people at a public rally for Cole on Monday.
The gathering came a week after the Millers made the heart-wrenching decision to turn Cole’s life support off due to brain trauma he’d suffered in a one-punch attack a day earlier.
The crowd paid tribute to Cole and joined in the call to end street violence, with rugby league legend Wally Lewis leading the charge.
‘There’s certainly no place whatsoever in this city or anywhere else for senseless act(s) of violence in our community,’ he told the crowd.
Billy, an Australian Olympic water polo player, said too many families had lost loved ones from violent, random attacks.
‘Sadly our family is not alone in losing a loved one in tragic circumstances,’ he said.
‘We should not and never have to worry about a loved one going out and having a good time with friends.’
But those at the rally – many parents who didn’t know the Millers – were concerned enough to turn up.
Some wore “One Punch Can Kill” wristbands and held signs calling for the end to the violent scourge.
Many were dressed in green, the same colour worn by Cole’s water polo club, the Brisbane Barracudas.
Immediately after the rally, a long line of people hugged the Millers, including Lewis, who knows the family through his daughter Jamie-Lee – also a water polo player.
The sombre event was held hours after a man was granted bail during a court appearance for a one-punch attack that left 36-year-old Mount Isa club manager Melissa Abdoo fighting for her life.
Addressing the crowd, Deputy Premier Jackie Trad said tragic deaths like Cole’s could only be eliminated if everyone took responsibility for their actions.
‘Cole’s death is a senseless tragedy that has left a family and a community heartbroken,’ she said.
Cole’s funeral will be held on Wednesday morning at the Cathedral of St Stephen in Brisbane’s CBD.
The two men accused of causing his death, Armstrong Renata and Daniel Maxwell, both 21, remain in custody, having been charged with unlawful striking causing death.