“There is a special angel in Heaven that is part of me,” Tyshawn Lee’s mother, Karla, wrote in a message in the funeral’s program about her only child. “It is not where I wanted him to be but where God wanted him to be. He touched the heart of many, like only an angel can do.”
Funeral services for 9-year-old shooting victim Lee were held Tuesday at St. Sabina Church in Chicago.
Family, friends and community members gathered at the church to pay their respects to the young victim, who was murdered Nov. 2. His killers are believed to be gang members who lured him into an alley to kill him. Lee was shot multiple times in close range in the face and back.
Reports indicate that Lee was killed because of his father’s alleged gang involvement.
The child’s body was carried in a small casket inside a glass trailer to his funeral. He was remembered as a young boy who loved playing video games. He was on his way to doing one of his most beloved activities, playing basketball, the night he was murdered.
“Tyshawn was not in the wrong place,” Father Michael Pfleger said Tuesday at the funeral. “The murderer, the executioner, the assassin—he was in the wrong place. 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. Give a high five to the team that’s standing on the court waiting for you.”
Other speakers at the funeral included Lee’s principal, Alene Mason, who said Lee “had an imagination out of this world.” She added that he was a creative and artistic student who always wanted to help out.
Among those also at the funeral were Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and actor-rapper Nick Cannon.
As Lee was laid to rest, police Tuesday reportedly said they know who shot him and are waiting for someone to identify the two suspects involved. A person of interest turned himself in last week but was released a day later without being charged.
The shooting occurred in the South Side Chicago neighborhood of Auburn Gresham. The area is known as a hotbed of crime and shootings.
The ongoing war between gangs is mostly over single blocks of turf to sell drugs, according to reports. Even though residents say they are used to the crime, they are shocked by the death of the 9-year-old fourth-grader.
The so-called “code of silence” is keeping people from coming forward with information about the killing. Many fear that coming forward could jeopardize their own lives.
Nearly $55,000 is being offered for relocation by police, activist and clergy for information about Lee’s murder.
“Tyshawn Lee was murdered in probably the most abhorrent, cowardly, unfathomable crime that I’ve witnessed in 35 years of policing,” Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy told reporters last week.
Lee’s father, Pierre Stokes, who served as a pallbearer at his son’s funeral, has been the focus of attention over the shooting. Law enforcement believes that his son’s murder is the result of gang retaliation. Stokes denies being part of or having any involvement with a gang.
Lee’s mother became the victim of scrutiny after reports surfaced that she bought a new car with money raised from a GoFundMe campaign. She explained through social media that the vehicle is needed for her protection from the people who killed her son. Before buying the vehicle, she was using public transportation.