Hundreds mourn teenager killed in shooting at Airbnb party in Pittsburgh

On a sunny Friday, one of the first truly beautiful days of spring, Adiyiah Brown said a heartbreaking farewell to her only child as she stood surrounded by hundreds of mourners and an outpouring of love.

She wore a white T-shirt with a collage of photos of her and her 17-year-old son, Jaiden Za’mar Brown, whom she called “the one and only”.

Adiyah Brown gathered with others at the Living Water Ministry church in Braddock for the hours-long service to say goodbye to her son.

“We, the family, express our sincere gratitude and appreciation for your prayers, words of encouragement and all acts of kindness shown during our time of mourning,” read a statement from the family on the back of the program. church. “Your thoughtfulness has helped sustain us during this difficult time. God bless each of you.

Jaiden Brown of North Braddock was one of two teenagers killed on Easter Sunday in a shooting at a party at a rented house on the north side of Pittsburgh.

About 200 people were inside the Airbnb-rented home when the shooting began, witnesses and police said.

Brown and Mathew Steffy-Ross, 17, of Pitcairn, were killed. Steffy-Ross’ funeral is Saturday.

The hundreds of mourners began arriving before 10 a.m. for the 11 a.m. service.

Brown was laid to rest in Monongahela Cemetery in Braddock on a warm sunny day with a cool breeze. His friends carried his pastel blue coffin with his name written on it.

“It shouldn’t have happened this way, but when God calls home greatness, you have to go,” said Ron Anger, 40, a close family friend who called Brown’s mother of sister. “Jaiden was much loved and his mother was a great mum. He was a good boy and his death is a major loss to the community.

Anger, who grew up in the Hill district of Pittsburgh and lives in Port View, said he would do everything possible to keep Brown’s memory alive.

“We have to love each other,” Anger said. “There are no words for how difficult it is emotionally. But I know Adiyiah, and she is stronger than Hercules. They are a beautiful family. We will celebrate Jaiden’s life.

A balloon release was scheduled for later in the day. More than 50 cars drove to the cemetery.

“I’m just sick of it,” said Curtis White, pastor of The Lord’s Church in Murrysville, a first cousin of Adiyiah Brown. “None of our young black men should have to go through this. It is such a tragic situation. “

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Keith Brown holds his mother’s Bible as he crosses Washington Avenue to enter the Living Water Ministry church in Braddock to attend his nephew’s funeral.

White said everyone needs to make it a priority to reach young people. It’s a serious problem, he said, but it needs to be talked about.

“We have to have the conversations,” he said. “I hope and pray for better days.”

Several churchgoers wore T-shirts with Brown’s picture with wings on each side and his nickname, JDot.

White’s wife, Niecy Dennis White, said the message in the church is to accept yourself, not judge yourself. She said Minister Nathaniel Carter, who delivered the eulogy, had a message asking people what they had done to change things since Sunday’s shooting.


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Funeral procession for Jaiden Za’mar Brown.

His son Archie Dennis, 23, of Murrysville, was saddened.

“Why can’t we all get along?” he said. “What happened at that party should never have come to this. Let’s stop hating each other and act like family. We need to learn from this to have a better future.”

Carter said there wasn’t much to say when things like this happened. He said society had changed and many young people had access to guns.

He remembers playing video games with Brown and recently seeing him stock the shelves at the Walmart where he worked.

“Jaiden was a very laid back kid,” said 17-year-old Joslyn Rankin of Wilkinsburg, who attended Propel School at one time with Brown. “He watched over his friends and always wanted to help everyone. He was hilarious.

His jokes were really funny, said Myonna Johnson, 18, of Wilkinsburg, who also attended Propel.

They all said they felt for Jaiden’s mother.

“When you lose a child, you lose yourself,” Anger said. “When you lose your only child, you lose everything about yourself.”

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is editor of Tribune-Review. You can contact JoAnne by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

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