Funeral for slain honors student Coleman

September 29, 2012 (EVANSTON, Ill.)

Authorities say he was the victim of a man out for revenge.

That man is now behind bars charged in the murder.

That news is providing some comfort as family and friends say their final goodbyes to Dajae Coleman.

There was a massive outpouring of love for this young man who was a top student and so many people mentioned his smile.

It's one of the things they want to remember as they celebrated his life.

The church couldn't hold hundreds of mourners, so many spilled outside tearful and heartbroken as they spoke about a young life which ended too soon.

"He was really smart," said classmate Olivia. "He always talked to everybody. He was the nicest person. He was always smiling."

The Evanston Township High School honor student was gunned down last weekend walking home from a party.

His mother, too overcome with grief, had no words Saturday, but the community wrapped themselves around her and her son.

"He was just so nice and it was such a tragedy and I just thought it would be important for him to know that everyone was here supporting him," said classmate Julia.

Coleman is being remembered as stand-out student and a promising athlete who excelled in basketball.

"He was a bright kid," said cousin LaRohn Bailey. "He was a star. He did a lot of different things that you just don't see a 14-year-old kid do to be honest with you."

Twenty-year-old Wesley Woodson is accused of killing Coleman.

Investigators say Woodson, a known gang member, wanted revenge against the person who fought with his cousin.

So on Saturday night, Woodson allegedly confronted a group of innocent teens and opened fire.

Coleman was shot in the back as he tried to run.

"It's just of all the people that this could happen to, it really shouldn't have been him," said classmate Mira. "He just really didn't deserve this."

"I'm glad they caught him and i am glad i got to know Dajae," said classmate Gabrielle Malone.

While mourners are relieved an arrest has been made, they can't understand the senseless violence.

"I was raised in Evanston and it's just sad that our young kids are hurting each other," said Xenia Roach.

This story has gone far beyond Evanston.

Basketball super star LeBron James even tweeted about Coleman, sending his love and prayers to the family, saying the violence needs to end.

Coleman's family says James was his idol.

Woodson has been charged with first degree murder. He was denied bail on Friday. Police say he is not cooperating with the investigation, but they say they do have witnesses to the shooting who have identified Woodson at the scene.

Woodson has been in trouble before. He has an arrest record for gun and drug possession.

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