The funeral for 13-year-old Anthony Stinson was held at St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church in Center Moriches on Monday. Anthony died after being struck by a police car on Sept. 9. NewsdayTV's Shari Einhorn reports. Credit: Newsday/Drew Singh; File Footage; Photo Credit: Family Photo

Anthony Stinson's death "makes no sense," the Rev. John Sureau told mourners Monday at a funeral Mass in Center Moriches for the 13-year-old Shirley boy killed when a Suffolk police cruiser struck him. With no answers to give as to why a teenager with so many friends and so much promise lost his life, Sureau urged those gathered to be grateful they were part of it.

"When we come up against moments like this, it rocks us. It shakes us to our core," said Sureau, who served as principal at Our Lady Queen-Apostles Catholic School in Center Moriches, when Anthony attended there. Anthony had just started eighth grade at William Paca Middle School in Mastic Beach before he was hit Sept. 9.

“Everything about this is wrong," he said. "Everything about this is not the way things should be. It makes no sense. There’s no explanation, no good answer to all the questions we have.”

In the pews at St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church listening to Sureau were Anthony’s parents, relatives, classmates and neighbors. At the head of the church near the altar was Anthony's white casket, covered by a gold shawl as a reminder of his baptism. His mother and father each set a crucifix on top of his coffin. Some classmates wore his photo around their necks.

"We're just staying strong and using each other," said Benjamin Cain, 12, after the funeral. Benjamin said he used to go over to Anthony's house every day after school. 

Anthony's mother, Claudia Stinson, left the church sobbing while clutching the crucifix to her chest.

Suffolk County Police Commissioner Rodney K. Harrison also sat in a pew with mourners. It was a Suffolk police officer, driving a patrol car with lights and sirens on, according to the department, who hit the boy just before 8 p.m. as he biked across William Floyd Parkway at the end of Adobe Drive where he lived. The officer was driving to aid an elderly patient at the time, police said.

The officer has remained on full duty during the investigation, which includes determining how fast the cruiser was traveling. Police have not named the officer. The cause of the crash, including the speed of the officer’s cruiser, is under investigation and is being reviewed by the state Attorney General’s Office. 

Anthony, who suffered a severe head injury, was placed on life support at Stony Brook University Hospital. He was declared brain dead last Monday and doctors Wednesday removed six of his organs for donation to patients in need, officials said. 

Harrison said he has spoken with Anthony’s mother about improving traffic safety and the need for an overpass over William Floyd Parkway. The police commissioner said he attended Anthony's funeral to show support for the teen's family and the community. 

“It’s tough. No mother should have to bury their child. It’s just a horrible, horrible accident and an opportunity to meet with the mother,” Harrison said. “Her strength is extremely incredible, but we’re going to work together to make sure we remember Anthony’s name and put things in place, because she has concerns for parkway and traffic safety over there.”

Harrison said he met with the officer involved in the crash Friday. He said she is still coping with the loss, and he said the department will offer any assistance she may need. 

During the funeral, Sureau read Scripture, telling mourners, "Don't let your hearts be troubled." He acknowledged it may be comforting to hear those words, but also hard to let go.

"You're going to be OK," he said.

Sureau told stories of Anthony in his ninth-period class, of Anthony the class clown, able to get other students to burst out laughing. Of Anthony bringing energy to tired classmates at the end of a long day. The priest held up a framed card with Anthony's name, used as an assignment for his classmates to write traits about him. 

"You are a caring friend, funny, energetic, inspirational, sarcastic and nice," one friend wrote. "You always make me laugh. You're very good at soccer, a good friend and have beautiful eyes. You’re very valuable. You need to remember that and the many gifts you have."

Sureau told family and friends to be grateful for the time they had with Anthony and to honor his legacy by trying to be better people.

"I would guess each of us in this church today can add to this list. We can add the practical things as a student, an athlete and one who always laughs," Sureau said. "In 13 years and to his last moments, God used Anthony to make other people better, all of us here, and literally save the lives of others."

Anthony Stinson's death "makes no sense," the Rev. John Sureau told mourners Monday at a funeral Mass in Center Moriches for the 13-year-old Shirley boy killed when a Suffolk police cruiser struck him. With no answers to give as to why a teenager with so many friends and so much promise lost his life, Sureau urged those gathered to be grateful they were part of it.

"When we come up against moments like this, it rocks us. It shakes us to our core," said Sureau, who served as principal at Our Lady Queen-Apostles Catholic School in Center Moriches, when Anthony attended there. Anthony had just started eighth grade at William Paca Middle School in Mastic Beach before he was hit Sept. 9.

“Everything about this is wrong," he said. "Everything about this is not the way things should be. It makes no sense. There’s no explanation, no good answer to all the questions we have.”

In the pews at St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church listening to Sureau were Anthony’s parents, relatives, classmates and neighbors. At the head of the church near the altar was Anthony's white casket, covered by a gold shawl as a reminder of his baptism. His mother and father each set a crucifix on top of his coffin. Some classmates wore his photo around their necks.

"We're just staying strong and using each other," said Benjamin Cain, 12, after the funeral. Benjamin said he used to go over to Anthony's house every day after school. 

Anthony's mother, Claudia Stinson, left the church sobbing while clutching the crucifix to her chest.

Suffolk County Police Commissioner Rodney K. Harrison also sat in a pew with mourners. It was a Suffolk police officer, driving a patrol car with lights and sirens on, according to the department, who hit the boy just before 8 p.m. as he biked across William Floyd Parkway at the end of Adobe Drive where he lived. The officer was driving to aid an elderly patient at the time, police said.

The officer has remained on full duty during the investigation, which includes determining how fast the cruiser was traveling. Police have not named the officer. The cause of the crash, including the speed of the officer’s cruiser, is under investigation and is being reviewed by the state Attorney General’s Office. 

Anthony, who suffered a severe head injury, was placed on life support at Stony Brook University Hospital. He was declared brain dead last Monday and doctors Wednesday removed six of his organs for donation to patients in need, officials said. 

Harrison said he has spoken with Anthony’s mother about improving traffic safety and the need for an overpass over William Floyd Parkway. The police commissioner said he attended Anthony's funeral to show support for the teen's family and the community. 

“It’s tough. No mother should have to bury their child. It’s just a horrible, horrible accident and an opportunity to meet with the mother,” Harrison said. “Her strength is extremely incredible, but we’re going to work together to make sure we remember Anthony’s name and put things in place, because she has concerns for parkway and traffic safety over there.”

Harrison said he met with the officer involved in the crash Friday. He said she is still coping with the loss, and he said the department will offer any assistance she may need. 

During the funeral, Sureau read Scripture, telling mourners, "Don't let your hearts be troubled." He acknowledged it may be comforting to hear those words, but also hard to let go.

"You're going to be OK," he said.

Sureau told stories of Anthony in his ninth-period class, of Anthony the class clown, able to get other students to burst out laughing. Of Anthony bringing energy to tired classmates at the end of a long day. The priest held up a framed card with Anthony's name, used as an assignment for his classmates to write traits about him. 

"You are a caring friend, funny, energetic, inspirational, sarcastic and nice," one friend wrote. "You always make me laugh. You're very good at soccer, a good friend and have beautiful eyes. You’re very valuable. You need to remember that and the many gifts you have."

Sureau told family and friends to be grateful for the time they had with Anthony and to honor his legacy by trying to be better people.

"I would guess each of us in this church today can add to this list. We can add the practical things as a student, an athlete and one who always laughs," Sureau said. "In 13 years and to his last moments, God used Anthony to make other people better, all of us here, and literally save the lives of others."

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