CHICAGO (FOX 32 News / AP) - Tyshawn Lee, 9, was laid to rest Tuesday at St. Sabina Church on the South Side.
"Tyshawn was creative, artistic, charming, helpful and had an imagination out of this world," said Principal of Joplin Elementary School Alene Mason.
Tyshawn Lee's small red casket was delivered Tuesday morning to St. Sabina Church on Chicago's South Side. Mayor Rahm Emanuel, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and actor-rapper Nick Cannon were among the hundreds attending the funeral.
Tyshawn was dressed in a white suit during his wake on Monday.
Last week, Tyshawn was lured into an alley near 80th and Damen and shot in the head and killed. In the time since his death, his memorial burned down, his mother came under fire for using money from a funeral GoFundMe account to buy a car, and his father has refused to cooperate with police even though his alleged gang ties are blamed for the murder.
Father Mike Pfleger, who conducted the funeral service at St. Sabina Church, said he knew Tuesday's funeral would be tough.
During the service, the Pfleger said the boy's death is a wake-up call for the city.
"A baby was executed," Pfleger said. "We have gone to a new low that's removed what used to be some codes, some barriers, some lines that used to be drawn in the community, some things in our city that were not acceptable."
Pfleger, who shook hands and hugged visitors who filled the pews and lined up along the walls and on staircases of the church, received a standing ovation for questioning why an abundance of community and police resources were devoted to look for suspects in the fatal shooting of a suburban Chicago police officer, whose death was later ruled a suicide, but not when someone killed a child.
"Our children have a right to walk our streets. Our children have a right to play in the park. Our children have a right to sit on their porch. Our children have a right expect to be safe wherever they are in the city of Chicago. Our children deserve that," Pfleger said. "Tyshawn was doing what every child has a right to do: be a child."
Police say the death was the result of two gangs fighting in a string of retaliatory events dating back months. Police have said Tyshawn was "lured" from a park into the alley because of his father's alleged gang connections.
"Tyshawn was not in the wrong place; the murderer, the assassin was in the wrong place," Pfleger said. "We must find the killer of Tyshawn."
Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy has said the boy's father is not cooperating in the investigation. He has said police have identified two gangs and some people allegedly involved in the shooting, but can't prove "who did what."
The child's father, Pierre Stokes, has denied authorities' claims and said he's "not the gang-banger type."
"The city's getting corrupt. It's starting to be killers with no conscience. People don't care about other people's feelings, other people's business.It's getting real rough out here and nobody's safe," Stokes said in a recent radio interview.
On Monday night, family, friends and the community began saying their final goodbyes at a memorial service inside the Haven of Rest Missionary Baptist Church.
"We as adults have failed to keep our kids safe and we all have to do better," US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said.
Activists have pledged $54,000 and relocation for information in Tyshawn's slaying.
"We are living in the midst of an emergency," said Rep. Bobby Rush.
As Chicago lays another one of its fallen children to rest Tuesday, we remember not only the life of 9-year-old Tyshawn Lee, but all the children who have been claimed by gun violence in the city we call home. We encourage you to express your feelings over the senseless acts of violence that have become too commonplace in our neighborhoods on the FOX 32 Chicago Facebook page. Please share the photos of Tyshawn Lee on our Facebook page and let his image represent the face of all of Chicago’s children who were too young to die.