An impromptu memorial of artificial flowers and dozens of stuffed animals remained Monday near strands of yellow crime-scene tape in a vacant lot where relatives say 15-year-old Jamar Pinkney Jr.'s father shot him in the head while he begged for mercy.
The lot is next to the two-story brick home where Jamar lived with his mother in the impoverished Detroit enclave of Highland Park, a once-prosperous city of 16,000, where decay, abandonment, fires and demolition have eaten away at the community.
Around the neighborhood, Jamar was remembered as a humble and generous boy who grew up tossing the football and worried about keep his grades up. Since his death a week ago, friends, family and the community have struggled with making sense of his slaying and his father's arrest.
Relatives say Jamar's father, Jamar Pinkney Sr., was irate over allegations that his son had sexual contact with a 3-year-old girl and made him strip at gunpoint, marched him to the lot and shot him as he begged for his life. Prosecutors have charged him with first-degree murder and jailed him without bond.
Police say the sexual misconduct accusation isn't part of the their investigation, and for many who knew Jamar, that allegation hasn't tempered the grief and outrage that another young life has been cut short.
"Most people feel that no 15-year-old, no matter what the circumstances or no matter had transpired, was deserving of this kind of fate," said Bishop Edgar L. Vann II, who delivered the eulogy before about 1,600 people gathered for Jamar's funeral on Monday at Second Ebenezer Church in Detroit.
Jamar's family said he was known for his entertaining personality and selfless kindness. He had competed as a wrestler since age four and played football since he was six.
"He was generous, he was kind," said Deborah Jenkins, principal of Martin Luther King High School in Detroit, where Jamar was a sophomore. "Many of the children claimed him as their best friend. They said anytime that they had a down moment it was Jamar that came up to them, giving them a hug and making them feel better."
Photos of Jamar with a smile on his face were projected onto two large screens above the pulpit as mourners filed past his open casket. Many of the photos on screen and a program passed out to mourners showed Jamar with his mother, Lazette Cherry, who gave the account of her son's death.
Cherry has said her son told her he had improper sexual contact with the girl and she called his father. Cherry said the elder Pinkney arrived Nov. 16 with a gun, ordered his son to strip and marched him outside.
"He is in a better place," said Ardis Flowers, a 49-year-old who has lived in the area for about four years but didn't know Jamar's family. She said she hopped his death would inspire change.
"This is hell on Earth, if you ask me," she said.
A representative of Michigan's governor joined other state lawmakers in offering condolences to Jamar's family during the service. U.S. Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., told the crowd that he planned to discuss Jamar's death when he meets Tuesday with President Barack Obama.
"It's our responsibility to turn this tragedy into something meaningful not just for Detroit but for the United States of America," Conyers said. "This violence ... is going on in every state and every city of the United States of America."
On the day of his son's funeral, Pinkney Sr., 37, was in jail and had been getting mental health treatment, said defense attorney Corbett O'Meara. A hearing to determine whether there's enough evidence for the Detroit man to stand trial on murder and assault charges is Dec. 1. O'Meara said Pinkney Sr. is "devastated."
"He was immediately prior to this act presented with information of an unforgivable act committed by his son, and actions which are attributed to him could only be a response to this sort of provocation," O'Meara said.
At Second Ebenezer, where Cherry and other relatives are members, the focus was on Jamar's life _ and the hope a way to end such violence could be found. Vann, the church's pastor, called on those at the service to help "take our community back, our cities back, our streets back" from evil.
Before leading the service, Vann said in an interview that the allegations against the boy didn't change the sadness.
"We know that whatever is done or is said today, or whatever comfort I give to the family today, it's against that landscape," Vann said "But it does not eradicate the fact that a young man's life has been snuffed out."