GREENSBORO, N.C. — Family, friends, and colleagues gathered at Dudley High School Wednesday night, to say goodbye to 26-year-old LaKiya Rouse.
The Guilford County bailiff died suddenly last week, after testing positive for COVID-19.
Although the rain didn't let up, it didn't stop a small crowd from coming together in a short - yet emotional - event, to pay tribute and remember Deputy Rouse.
The Dudley High School grad was working as a bailiff at the Greensboro Courthouse. She felt sick and left work early last Tuesday. After being admitted to the hospital, Rouse died, less than 24 hours later.
The Sheriff's Office reported she tested positive for the coronavirus, but no medical official has linked COVID to her death.
"We are in a difficult time...dealing with COVID and all the other things that are taking place. A time when we need each other. So for that family to lose someone that was so pivotal to their life… she's going to be missed from her family. She's gonna be missed from the courthouse. She's going to be missed in a lot of ways," said District Court Judge Larry Archie.
Archie said Rouse had been working in his courtroom earlier that week. Her unexpected death came as a shock to him - and so many others.
"She only spent a couple of times with me in the courtroom, but her presence was felt every time she was in the courtroom," he said, "She brought the energy, she brought the passion. She loved her job."
Manuel Williamson is still processing the grief, after losing his best friend.
"She helped me get through a lot of things, I helped her get through a lot of things," he said, "I love her to death. I wish she was still here."
The Greensboro Courthouse reopened Wednesday. The County closed it last week as a precaution after the Sheriff's Office learned of Rouse's positive coronavirus test.