Services held for Joseph Massenburg, AmeriCorps volunteer from Matteson killed in New Orleans

Joseph Massenburg was shot and killed while volunteering in New Orleans.

April 9, 2013 2:54:33 PM PDT
Friends and family are mourning the death of Joseph Massenburg, an 18-year-old AmeriCorps volunteer who was gunned down in New Orleans last week.

Massenburg was walking in the West Carrollton neighborhood when he was shot to death. He was talking on his cell phone with a friend in Chicago.

"I'm really sorry this had to happen," Russell Bergtold, friend of Massenburg family, said. "It shouldn't have happened. It shouldn't have happened."

"We're deeply affected by it. We're living with pain and hurt. But with our faith in God and our trust in each other, we'll get through it," Andre Massenburg, father, said.

As Massenburg's family and friends gathered for his visitation on Tuesday, New Orleans police doubled the reward for information in the case to $5,000.

Massenburg grew up in south suburban Matteson and joined AmeriCorps after graduating high school a semester early. He attended Rich South and Lincoln's Challenge Academy in downstate Rantoul. He was in New Orleans for AmeriCorps, volunteering for a non-profit that installs energy-efficient lighting.

"Joseph was on his way to becoming a young man. And he wanted to make a difference in the life of others. And that's what he did. He touched a lot of people," Sharon Massenburg, mother, said.

"Joseph joined AmeriCorps to make a difference. And you have to be able to be a giver to make a difference," Andre Massenburg said.

Massenburg planned to join the U.S. Army in the fall. His family says the teenager was well aware of the problems that plague many of the young people in Chicago.

"Often times we would have a conversation about the violence, the drugs, the gangs. And Joseph was one of the ones -- he always told us he was going to make us proud --and those were things he was not interested in," Sharon Massenburg said.

Massenburg's funeral will be held Wednesday at 11a.m. at Holy Temple Cathedral in Harvey.