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Sunday, 12 April 2009

Curtis Brown, 26, died March 29 in the parking lot of the McDonald's/Circle K on Lake Bradford Road after he was shot during a gun battle

13:50 |

Curtis Brown, 26, died March 29 in the parking lot of the McDonald's/Circle K on Lake Bradford Road after he was shot during a gun battle between the Holton Street or West Side gang and the North Side gang. The shooting broke out about 4:30 a.m. that Sunday, scattering a crowd of about 150 people.Family members have said Brown, who was not a gang member, was shot in the back of the head at close range. They suspect he was targeted. Leon County deputies said Brown was an innocent bystander.Hundreds of people in the packed sanctuary of the St. Mark Primitive Baptist Church, 5820 N. Monroe St., waved their arms in the air, clapped and danced to the booming gospel music the choir and live band played throughout the two-hour funeral.Several sitting in the pews had to be fanned by ushers as they were overcome with emotion.The grandmother of 15-year-old Michael Jackson, slain in a gang-related shootout on Holton Street more than one year ago, served as an usher.The funeral began with an open casket. Family and friends, many of whom wore white and gold to match Brown's suit and tie, waited in line to walk up to Brown and say their goodbyes. The cover of the funeral programs they were given showed drawings of doves carrying olive branches next to a picture of a tough-looking Brown. He's giving the camera a menacing look, and his shirt appears to say "win or die."The aunt of Brown's 18-year-old brother, Rakeem Edmond, spoke on Edmond's behalf, since Edmond is incarcerated at the Leon County Jail on several charges, including aggravated battery on a law-enforcement officer and fleeing and eluding."If it was his way, he would be here," she said, as the band played "My Heart Will Go On." "He told my daughter, 'If I had to come in handcuffs, I would come.' But they didn't want him to come."
The Rev. Gregory James, who presided over the funeral, said what happened to Brown will serve as a cautionary tale to young people.
"Yes, there's sadness that we're experiencing, but there's joy," he said. "Because if Hump's life is the life that's being sacrificed to bring about peace in our community, putting away violence in the community, then we know that this life was a life glorified by God."
The Rev. Chris Burney urged the young people in the audience to make a better life for themselves."You don't have to follow in the footsteps of your no-good daddy," Burney said. "If you really want to show who you are, get up and go to work, get an education, make an honest living, have respect for one another."

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