The crowd of mourners, at least 1,000 strong, filled the 800-seat sanctuary at the New Shiloh Baptist Church in Atlantic City and spilled over into the chapel and adjoining event hall to remember Micah S. Tennant-Dunmore, the 10-year-old who died after being shot at a high school football game.
Men and boys Micah’s age dressed in suits, mothers with babies on their hips, and teenagers in football jerseys embraced one another and police officers stationed outside the church, beside a sign that read, “MICAH S. TENNANT HOMECOMING.”
Faith leaders and elected officials urged a community brought together by tragedy to continue supporting one another.
“We all suffer with the death of this young man,” said Bishop James Washington, the church’s senior pastor, after the service. “We have to begin young, teaching the value of life.”
The fifth grader was one of three people shot at a Pleasantville-Camden high school football game Nov. 15, after a fight broke out among several men.
Six men have been charged in the incident, including a 27-year-old who also was shot. The suspected gunman, Alvin Wyatt, 27, has been charged with murder.
Micah died of his injuries Nov. 20 at Cooper University Medical Center in Camden.
Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small Sr. encouraged the community to “keep this same energy during the dark days."
“It’s important we continue to wrap our arms around the family,” Small said after the service.
Those who knew Micah remembered him as a smart and energetic boy who, at 10, had already found his passion in life — music.
“He was just out of this world. ... He was the life of the party,” said Brandi Miller, of Pleasantville, who said her grandson was related to Micah.
Micah became interested in DJ-ing as a toddler by watching his uncle, and earned the nickname “DJ Dew” or “Dew,” by applying his skills at family events and even his own birthday parties, his family wrote in his obituary.
Shauna Simpson, a family friend, said Micah’s talent and dedication to his craft made him seem beyond his 10 years.
“He’s an old soul. He’s been here before,” said Simpson, of Atlantic City. His death has hit the community hard, she said. “Everyone is hurting.”
Micah also enjoyed spending time with his family, playing football, and had a “bright smile and huge personality that made it easy for anyone to fall in love with him,” family members wrote in his obituary, which was printed alongside a photo collage illustrating his big smile in a pamphlet distributed during the funeral.