Kimani Gray, the 16-year-old from East Flatbush, Brooklyn, who was shot dead by police two weeks ago, was mourned Friday and will be buried Saturday after a service at a church just blocks from where he lived.
"It's very emotional in there. Very emotional," said community activist Fatimah Shakur of the scene inside the Caribe Funeral Home on Utica Avenue Friday. "You can't sit too long in there without crying. You know, someone has to bury their child today."
Friends and family of Gray flocked into the funeral home for most of Friday under the watchful eyes of police who stayed largely out of sight but close enough to monitor a situation that in the past became volatile.
Gray's mother, Carol, arrived Friday just after 5 p.m. in a black Honda, accompanied by City Councilman Charles Barron. Carol Gray hesitated briefly before the door of the funeral home and had to be helped inside by Barron. She said nothing to reporters on the way in.
Gray was killed March 9 after he allegedly pulled a gun on two plainclothes officers on anti-crime patrol, officials said. NYPD officers said Gray was part of a group that had been told to disperse, but Gray was seen breaking away, adjusting his waistband and acting in what police said was a suspicious manner.
Witnesses heard the officers tell Gray to show his hands before he allegedly pointed a handgun at them, officials said. A loaded .38 caliber Rohm's Industry revolver was recovered at the scene.
NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said the early indications were that the two officers followed police procedure on the use of deadly force.
After Gray's death, there were demonstrations outside the 67th Precinct from which splinter groups turned rowdy, trashing local merchant stands and a Rite Aid pharmacy. Carol Gray disavowed the violence and local politicians claimed outsiders had come into the community to cause trouble. The clamor then abated.
However, the family and Barron have demanded that the Brooklyn district attorney's office investigate the shooting. Friday, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office said the investigation was ongoing.
At the funeral home, several security guards watched mourners. Those who entered wore everything from hoodies to traditional black mourning clothes. Reporters were not allowed to enter.
Bedford-Stuyvesant Ambulance Corps Commander Rocky Robinson showed up with 40 volunteer emergency medical technicians. They formed a neat line in front of the barricade with their dark outfits and white gloves. Robinson, 72, said they were there to support the family and in case something happened. "You don't wait for somebody to get injured," he said. "We're the people's EMS."
City Comptroller John Liu, a mayoral candidate, was among those at the funeral home, Shakur said.
Across the street, local artist Michael "Nunya" Winburn set up a huge poster with a winged heart and the words "In loving memory" and "Kimani Gray" so that people could sign it.
A service is planned for 9:45 a.m. Saturday at St. Catherine of Genoa Parish, 520 Linden Blvd., an official at the funeral home said.
With Igor Kossov and Bill Mason