"Tyshawn was on his way to play basketball at the park down the street from his grandmother's house. Our children have a right to walk our streets. Our children have a right to play in the park. Our children have a right to sit on their porch. Our children have a right expect to be safe wherever they are in the city of Chicago. Our children deserve that," Father Pfleger said. "Tyshawn was doing what every child has a right to do: be a child."
The small casket arrived at St. Sabina Church just before 9:30 a.m. Tuesday. Services for the fourth-grader began at 11 a.m.
Friends and family are remembering the boy who loved fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, video games and computers. He dreamed of playing for the NBA.
"Tyshawn, step on the new court prepared for you. It's not the court of Dawes Park. But it's the court that's been paved in gold," Father Pfleger said. "Give a high five to the team that's standing on the court waiting for you."
Pfleger went on to list other children and young adults - in Chicago and around the nation - who have been killed in violence.
"Play ball, play ball, play ball! This ain't the end. We'll see you in the playoffs!" Father Pfleger said.
Tyshawn was carrying his basketball when he was gunned down near his grandmother's home in the 8000-block of South Damen Avenue. Chicago police and officials said Tyshawn was targeted because of his father's alleged involvement in gang-related shootings. The horrifying crime sparked outrage in Chicago.
"It's a very painful day for not just the family, of course, but the community. There's a mixture of pain and anger," Father Pfleger said. "This is a new low for Chicago. Chicago has to face itself. We had nearly 400 murders this year, over 2,200 shootings here. We have a problem here," Father Pfleger said.
"We adults have failed to keep our kids safe. We all have to do better," U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said outside the funeral.
"Along with the system, we also let our children down. And it's time for us to go to the streets and pick them up. We fumbled the ball. Since we fumbled the ball, we're going to pick it up and run with it, which means we're going to address this issue of what's going on in this city," Mark Carter, relative, said.
On Tuesday night, Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich released a condolence letter that read in part: "I want to say something directly to Tyshawn's classmates and childhood friends. I am concerned about you... As an adult, I apologize to all of you. You all deserve better from us who are adults. And I am ashamed that we have failed you."
Chicago police have asked for the public's help, and activists have offered $54,000 and relocation for information in Tyshawn's murder.
"There's a hole in our hearts. We feel our pain. We feel the mom's pain, the family's pain. You relive it allover again," Tanesha Reed, whose son Demarius was shot to death, said.