Community Gathers for Teen Victim’s Funeral

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

A funeral for a 14-year-old boy gunned down in an alley grew into a three-hour community rally Saturday as speakers implored teenagers to abandon gangs and reclaim responsibility for their lives.

More than 500 people packed the Praises of Zion Missionary Baptist Church and an adjoining chapel at the service for Byron Lee Jr. Dozens more, mostly teens, spilled onto the sidewalk and adjacent street corners.

The ninth-grader was attacked Oct. 9 about 2 p.m. as he rode his bike in South Los Angeles. One round was fired at Byron from a car that was following him, police said. Two men then got out of the car and shot the wounded youth 19 times as he begged for his life, police and witnesses said. Investigators believe the shooting was gang-related, even though Lee had no gang connections.