HOMEWOOD SOUTH (KDKA) — A Homewood South church hosted a vigil Sunday in honor of a 16-year-old who was fatally shot last week.
An “Interfaith Vigil to End Gun Violence” was held at the Church of the Holy Cross on Kelly Street in remembrance of 16-year-old Jonathan Freeman, who was fatally shot in Homewood on Wednesday night.
The church was packed with community members, friends and classmates from Taylor Allderdice High School.
“You have to mourn and you have to let time go on and you have to continue to live your life. You can’t be broken. You have to honor the people you lose by your actions after their loss,” said Charlie Forester, a friend of the victim.
Mourners also asked how they can stop the violence.
“We also have to hold our family and friends a little bit closer and realize this isn’t just an issue in the black community, it’s an issue in all of the communities,” Jelisa Lyde, a Taylor Allderdice student, said.
Freeman’s grandmother was also in attendance and spoke to the crowd, saying the outpouring of love and support was helping the family during a painful time.
“It makes us feel like we can have hope,” she said.
When addressing the crowd, she also mentioned she was saddened that she and other members of the family had not been personally invited to the service and had to find out about the vigil through social media.
The church said in a release that they were asked to host the event, but they did not know that the Freeman family “may not have been informed or invited to this service.”
“We learned of this possible omission by the organizers at the vigil like other invited participants,” the church said in the release.
The Holy Cross says they are “devastated by this oversight.”
The Church of the Holy Cross will collect a special offering to help the family at next Sunday’s worship service.