PLEA FOR PEACE
Funeral services held for shooting victims
by Clay Neely - Clay@newnan.com
Funeral services were held Sunday for the victims of last week’s shooting incident on Hill Street.
Twenty-three-year-old Darian “Derri-Boo” Person and Gregory Marquel “Quell” Anderson, 27, both died of gunshot wounds. Kamikie “Chez” Wilkins, 23, has been charged with two felony counts of murder in the case.
At the service for Person at Saint Smyrna Baptist Church, pastor and eulogist, Tamarkus Cook, sang with the choir as hundreds of family and friends filed past his coffin for 45 minutes, paying their final respects.
Minister James Stegall gave the scripture reading and expressed his anger and frustration over the unnecessary deaths of both young men.
“Let this family and community heal,” Stegall said. “We’re tired of what you’re doing, Satan. Take your hands off our sons, and Lord, hold these young men in your willing hands.”
Following Stegall’s reading, the family and friends of Person delivered their remarks to the attendees with Darian’s mother, Lorella Person, calling for an end to the violence. “I just want to say to all of his friends, it’s time to let everything go,” said Person. “Darian loves everybody and he wanted everybody to be okay. Just let everything go. We don’t need to cause any more pain and suffering for anybody else’s families.”
Across town, the service for Gregory Marquel “Quell” Anderson was held to a standing room only audience as hundreds gathered both inside and outside of Zion Hill Baptist Church to pay their final respects.
The Rev. Ronald Grooms, serving as the eulogist for the service, performed an emotional rendition of Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come,” before The Rev. Steve Dennis delivered his reading to the attendees.
“There is something I need to say that is more important than the scripture I’m about to read,” said Dennis. “Time is running out. It ain’t like it used to be. We don’t have time to waste.”
“I loved this boy all his life,” said Dennis. “And we know life will never be the same for this family again.”
Stegall, who spoke at both services, read from the book of Timothy and offered his own advice to those sitting in the rows of Zion Hill.
“Put down the guns,” said Stegall. “Put down the .38’s, put down the .44’s and pick up the 66,” waving the Holy Bible towards the audience. “Locked and loaded, the 66 is all you’ll ever need.”
As Stegall continued to read, his words slowly grew from a soft whisper into a roaring climax, crying out for the families and friends who were emotionally torn following the week’s events.
“God you said that in your word that if we need you, all we have to do is call. Lord, I’m calling you right now because we’re sick and tired of coming here to do this,” said Stegall, pounding his fist on the pulpit, eliciting an uproar of applause from the audience.
Both services concluded with remarks from family and friends, recalling fond memories of the two young men and a demand for peace and understanding in the community.