ALTADENA (CBS) — Family and friends of Kendrec Lavelle McDade gathered Saturday in Altadena to lay to rest the 19-year-old man who was shot and killed this past week by Pasadena police.
The tearful funeral was held this morning at the Metropolitan Baptist Church in Altadena and McDade’s body was then taken to Rose Hills Memorial Park and Mortuary in Whittier for burial.
Mourners — many dressed in blue — wore purple ribbons with McDade’s picture on them. His No. 18, blue Azusa High School football jersey was also on display during the church service.
Reporting for CBS2 and KCAL9, Louisa Hodge said “emotions were running high throughout the ceremony.”
McDade’s mother, Anya Slaughter, wrote in the program for the ceremony, “Deep down inside my heart is broken and I am sad that you are gone. But I know you are in a better place that we all would like to call home. Our time together was short when God decided to call you home. But you will remain in my heart forever long.”
Anthony Mitchell, a friend of McDade’s said, “It’s just devastating…We don’t know what he could’ve been but we know he was special. The way he lost his life was very tragic. It hurt.”
McDade’s shooting by two Pasadena police officers on the night of March 24 has raised serious and uncomfortable questions for city leaders.
The police have tried to lay part of the blame for the fatal officer-involved-shooting on 26-year-old Oscar Carrillo, the man who called 911 to report the alleged theft of his backpack by McDade and another teen outside a taco truck in Pasadena.
Carrillo told the 911 dispatcher his alleged assailants were armed and police who responded to the scene thought they were in pursuit of armed robber suspects, but no weapon was ever found on or near McDade after the OIS.
Pasadena police officers Jeffrey Newlen and Mathew Griffin, the pair involved in the shooting and now on administrative leave, say they thought McDade was armed and claimed they shot him when he allegedly reached for his waistband.
McDade’s family disputes the claim that McDade was reaching for his waistband when he was shot by the officers.
Carrillo later admitted to police that he lied about the teens being armed. He told reporters that he lied to try and get the police to respond faster because he was afraid for his life. Carrillo was later arrested by Pasadena police on March 28 and booked on involuntary manslaughter.
However, the L.A. County District Attorney’s office has declined to prosecute and Carrillo, who’s now out of jail is facing deportation by federal authorities for his alleged illegal entry into the country.
McDade’s family has hired a Beverly Hills law firm and filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city and the Pasadena police department.
According to the court documents in this case, McDade’s family alleges neither Newlen nor Griffin identified themselves as police officers or saw anything in the teen’s hands or on his clothing to indicate he had a weapon.
Griffin, the document alleges, fired multiple rounds at McDade from inside his vehicle, while Newlen fired from outside his patrol car.
The documents also allege that McDade did not die immediately, but instead was handcuffed and left him laying on the street for a “protracted period of time without administering first aid.” The teen later died at the hospital.
The lawsuit also alleges that officers present at the shooting scene conspired to suppress the truth.
Meanwhile, Pasadena police Chief Phillip Sanchez has asked the FBI for an independent review of the fatal OIS.
Laqueta Wardlaw remembered McDade “as very loved, very smart. He was a very smart child. And it’s a blessing his school was here to support him.”
As the white casket adorned with white flowers first appeared, Hodge reported many family and friends clung to each other to share their grief.
Said Wardlaw, “it’s so sad we’re all meeting here for his home going.”
McDade family attorney Caree Harper issued a statement warning the police to keep a low profile during the funeral. “Should there be a heavy police presence in the form of marked patrol units, helicopters circling the area, or random detentions of young men attending either event, our office will view this as a harassment, intimidation and just plain disrespectful.”
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