The Latest: March in Alabama for man shot by police officer

AP News
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Posted: Mar 05, 2016 4:54 PM

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The Latest on the funeral services for the Alabama man killed by police. (all times local):

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4:30 p.m.

The provost at Alabama State University sought to lift up mourners attending a funeral service for a black man shot and killed by a Montgomery police officer.

Leon Wilson, a provost at the university, addressed the family of 58-year-old Gregory Gunn, who authorities say was fatally shot by Officer Aaron Smith on Feb. 25. About 200 people attended the funeral service at True Divine Baptist Church.

Gunn attended the college where he studied accounting and pledged the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity.

"In moments like this it may seem we are pawns in the hands of fate, tossed about in uncertainty," Wilson said. "But I read a book called the Bible that says otherwise."

Rev. Herman Calhoun eulogized Gunn.

"Greg's life is not in vain, for look at all of us who he has touched," Calhoun said. "Greg's life was a life that has been used by God."

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4 p.m.

Family members, friends and former classmates stood at the front of the True Divine Baptist Church at a funeral service for a black man who was shot and killed by a Montgomery police officer.

The mourners paid homage to 58-year-old Gregory Gunn, who authorities say was fatally shot by Officer Aaron Smith on Feb. 25. They described Gunn as a joyful man, who loved cars and was a mentor to his nieces and nephews.

Gunn's niece says he would give her a little spending money every time she brought home an 'A' average on her report card. She recalled that she started doing so well that Gunn rescinded his normal offer, but he would take her for rides in a prized sports car instead.

"It felt good for him to be proud of me," she said. "He always made you feel joyful."

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1:10 p.m.

Nearly three dozen people gathered for a peaceful march in a neighborhood in Alabama hours before the funeral of a black man who was shot and killed by a Montgomery police officer.

The group joined together Saturday in the honor of 58-year-old Gregory Gunn who was fatally shot by Officer Aaron Smith on Feb. 25. The group marched in the Mobile Heights neighborhood in front of Gunn's family's home, just steps away from where he died. Yellow lawns signs reading "Justice for Greg Gunn" lined the street.

Activist Jamel Brown says organizers didn't want to talk specifically about the case. Brown, who knows the Gunn family, told the crowd that Smith's arrest was "progress" but the community should still push for justice.

"When you put on a badge and you put on a gun, you are sworn to protect and serve your community," Brown said. "That don't give you any legal right to harass the black community."

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Funeral services are scheduled in Alabama for a black man shot and killed by a white police officer who now stands charged with murder.

Gregory Gunn, 58, was to be laid to rest at True Diviner Baptist Church in Montgomery on Saturday. Friends and community supporters are expected to gather for a peaceful march before the service.

Gunn's mother told reporters this week she hopes 23-year-old Officer Aaron Smith will attend the funeral.

Smith fatally shot Gunn in the early hours of Feb. 25. Officials say Smith thought Gunn looked "suspicious." Gunn's family says he was walking home from a friend's house.

Smith's attorney says his arrest is a "political witch hunt" meant to appease the community amid a national debate over police violence in minority communities.