The north Minneapolis community came together Tuesday morning to grieve with the family of Nizzel George. A funeral for the 5-year-old shooting victim was held at Shiloh Temple International Ministries on West Broadway.
George's mother could hardly step away from her son's tiny, white casket as hundreds came to pay their respects and cope with emotions ranging from grief to frustration.
A 15-year-old boy has been charged with first-degree murder in the shooting. He has not been named because of his age, but prosecutors hope to charge him as an adult. Stephon Terrell Shannon, 17, is charged with aiding and abetting murder.
Moments after the funeral for George wrapped up, Shannon appeared in court. He smiled as he entered the courtroom and gave a salute to family members who came to support him. He has automatically been charged as an adult in the case.
Reports from police about gang connections, infighting and the seemingly senseless motive behind the shooting have shaken the community, but family members said they wanted FOX 9 cameras to roll at the funeral in the hopes that no other parent will go through it.
Investigators who spoke at a news conference on Monday said the two teens had been staying at a home located at the corner 45th and Camden avenues. That house was shot up the day before George was shot and killed.
Charging documents also state that Shannon told a witness he has made peace with God and is sorry about the baby; however, when police questioned Shannon he denied any involvement with the shooting.
Police said there has been an ongoing dispute between teens in both houses that stems back to an unsolved homicide in September 2011.
On Monday, George's father said his only son lived with him most of the time and he said he would not have let him go to his maternal grandmother's home if he had known about the feud.
"Put the weapons down," he pled. "Get an education -- learn, become somebody because kids in gangs they only get two choices: Dead or in jail."
Northside residents will be back at Shiloh Temple on Tuesday night for a "Young Just-Us" community meeting. Community leaders and neighbors will discuss ideas to keep guns off of Northside streets and out of the hands of young people.