Large turnout, calls for justice at Alton Sterling's funeral

Crowds, calls for justice at Alton Sterling funeral

BATON ROUGE, LA (WVUE) - It had the feel of a church revival.

People came from far and near to pay final respects to 37-year-old Alton Sterling who was gunned down by police July 5.

Between the three-hour visitation and the funeral that lasted even longer, thousands passed through the F.G. Carter Activity Center in Baton Rouge. Among the speakers were elected officials and national civil rights leaders.

"Words can't heal those wounds, only faith in our Lord can heal those wounds," said Congressman Cedric Richmond, D-New Orleans, who represents a portion of Baton Rouge.

The owner of the convenience store where Sterling was shot addressed the funeral attendees, as well. He called Sterling a loving person who showed him true "Southern hospitality."

"He was a big-hearted, sweet, selfless person," said Abdullah Muflahi.

Civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson prayed for the terrorism victims in France and for the families of Sterling and Philando Castile, who was killed by a police officer in Minnesota as he sat behind the wheel of his car during a traffic stop. Jackson urged unity.

'The young man who killed the police in Texas should not have done it.  He was not trained by Black Lives matter he came out of the military. We must
choose reconciliation over retaliation and revenge," he said.

"You have held your heads high with great dignity and an example of what this nation should be, but let us not beat around the bush, this is wrong," said Rev. Al Sharpton.

Police have said Sterling had a gun in his pocket when he was shot. His death and that of Castile prompted days of protests not only in Baton Rouge, but around the nation.

At Sterling's funeral, there was a police presence inside and outside the mini dome, but it was not overwhelming.

Many in attendance did not know Sterling, but felt compelled to show up.

"I didn't know him personally, but my son is his son's age and I have all boys to I just felt the need to be here," said Penny Albert-Charles.

"I think it was important for all people who can be here, to be here. This is a nationwide epidemic," said Rep. John Baggers, D-New Orleans.

Another man leaving the visitation said, "Whether you personally knew Alton or not, we all hold Alton inside, we all have sense of Alton."

Gov. John Bel Edwards did not attend the funeral. His staff said he is in Iowa through Saturday attending the National Governor's Association event.

Burial for Sterling was private.

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