Funeral held for boy shot on basketball court

Darius Brown

August 10, 2011 2:47:51 PM PDT
Darius Brown, 13, was laid to rest Wednesday, one week after he was gunned down while playing basketball at Metcalfe Park on the city's South Side.

More than 800 people gathered at St. Philip Neri Catholic Church to show their respects. Many mourners also called for an end to gun violence.

Richard Morgan coached the standout basketball player in the Windy City and Robert Taylor Small Fry basketball leagues. "Darius was the epitome of what you want your kids to be you want your players to be," Morgan said of the point guard. "Each one of these kids they all loved him... Kids just gravitated to him."

Brown's family took up the front pews at the service. Several speakers decried the senseless violence that took the 13-year-old boy while he was doing what he was supposed to do -- engaging in his community through basketball, trying to be a better player and person.

"I think we need to let all the cases of where no violence occurred in jail, put them out... And anybody that shoots and kills a child there should be mandatory 25 years, no release. No good time, no parole no nothing," Fr. Michael Pfleger, Saint Sabina's Catholic Church, said.

Chicago Bulls Legend Sidney Green offered comfort -- and said these scenes remind many NBA players how lucky they are. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel came too. He spoke about Brown's death at an earlier event. Holding back emotion, he said, "When a 13-year-old being a child is gunned down, it's a loss for our city. Not just the family."

And for a best friend, that loss has meaning you may not expect for a 13-year old. "Sometimes parents say no to going outside and stuff like that. And kids say no I want to go outside. You know what I mean and we just have to listen to our parents some time because the wrong moment... It can be a tragedy," Vincent Roofe said.

Police are still investigating. They don't have new leads and a $9,000 reward is offered for information that leads to an arrest.

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