Community crowds church to honor life of slain teen

By: Laura Geller - bio | email

PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) - The 13-year-old killed by a stray bullet last weekend in Chesterfield was laid to rest this afternoon. A funeral for Devin Hawkins lasted about two hours and was standing room only.

Hawkins' parents fought back tears as the casket was carried from the Metropolitan Baptist Church, many of the relatives here several times the age of the loved one they are mourning. But then there are Devin's classmates and teammates; much too young to carry the weight of such a tragedy. The youthful innocence shown in their descriptions of their friend.

"He was a good person and if you needed help, he'd help you," said classmate Bria Webster. "He was nice and caring and funny."

Webster says she can't stop thinking about the night Devin died. The two were texting back and forth.

"I was asking him what he was doing and he said he was outside," she said.

Outside in the wrong place at the wrong time. Police say a bullet from William Timothy Walker's gun was meant for someone else but took Devin's life.

"I was shocked," said Webster. "I wish he would have went in the house instead of staying outside."

Inside the church, teachers and pastors talked about the bright future the teen had ahead of him. He loved music and football and was a role model to all who knew him. Many of Devin's former teammates wore their football jerseys in his honor. One teacher told the congregation the 13-year-old is now playing on God's team with a #4 jersey over his angel wings.

Tears flowed freely, just like earlier this week at a vigil where adults tried to plead with their kids to make better choices and stop senseless violence. A message Bria's mother Yolandra says she's learning the hard way.

"I just have to say that this is the really bad parts of life you know there are some really bad parts of life and this is one of them," she said. "There's not a whole lot you can do about things like this."

Police have arrested two suspects in the murder investigation. Both are charged with gang participation.

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