Family, Friends, Community Dressed as Superheroes Celebrate Life of 7-Year-Old Erie Boy Killed in Shooting
Antonio "Espn" Yarger Jr., one of the youngest victims of gun violence in the Erie community, was laid to rest Saturday.
The funeral at Second Baptist Church was both a celebration of his young life and a call to end the gun violence.
"It makes us more aware of the violence in our city. It make us aware that we need to show love to one another kindness, and be patient with one another. This violence has to stop," says Evangelist Marcella Janick.
There's still no one behind bars for the crime that killed the seven year old. Family and friends want to see that suspect behind bars, so there is some hope of justice for a life cut short.
Instead of having a sad service, family members planned a way to bring high spirits to celebrate his life.
Everybody came in their superhero attire, as requested from the family, mainly dressing as Spiderman and other characters.
A few people came forward to share their favorite memories of Yarger. They are mainly going to miss his jokes, big smile and his hugs.
Others who attended the funeral were at a loss for words after seeing a single mother lose her young son to gun violence.
People said they hope the memorial service for such a young gun violence victim is opening the eyes of many, letting them know that enough is enough.
"In the unfortunate time we can't rely on scared, stubborn, victimized people to solve crimes without a fear of retribution. You know the high crime areas where some of these violent crimes take place. Far, far too many unsolved crimes. Your police department can't be everywhere but cameras don't lie sir," grandmother Laurie Coleman said.
Family and friends think a closer family bond is one step to keeping the community safer.
"More activities for kids without fathers. They look up to people on tv who shoot guns..."
To show how much the community supports the grieving family, people lined up along Downing Ave. for a procession.
A horse-drawn carriage carried Antonio's body down the road to the theme music from the movie Rocky "Gonna Fly Now."
The Erie High School marching band and members of the community played the music for the procession.