By Marina Lopes and Tom Liddy
ASTORIA — More than 1,000 people packed into a Queens funeral home Friday night to pay their respects to Tayshana Murphy, the teen basketball star who was murdered near her Harlem home last Sunday.
The line of mourners stretched for two blocks outside of Thomas M. Quinn & Sons funeral home on Broadway and 36th Street in Astoria.
So many people showed, in fact, that the slain teen's father, Taylonn Murphy, came out at one point to plead with the crowd to move back.
"I give you my word, you are all going to get in," he said. "Move back! They are talking about shutting my daughter's wake down. Please!"
Many of those waiting to say goodbye to Murphy, who was chased down and shot three times on Sept. 11, wore t-shirts saying "R.I.P. Chicken," in reference to her nickname, and pictures of the basketball standout around their necks.
"I'm going to miss her smile, her eyes," said a cousin, 17. "She was an extraordinary person."
Pal Monae Scott, 20, who met Tayshana when she lived in Astoria, said that the friends had nicknames for each other.
"We called each other Birdie and Girlie," she said. "Her name is 'Chicken' so I used to call her Birdie."
"She loved to joke around. She didn't deserve to die how she did. She wasn't the type of person who was into guns."
Family members came out of the funeral home periodically crying and holding each other. One woman yelled "no, no" repeatedly.
Murphy, an 18-year-old high school senior, was considered one of the best point guards in the country and wanted to play in the WNBA.
“She would be like, I’m going to make it to the league," said Ayana Battle, who went to high school with Murphy at Bishop Loughlin in Brooklyn. “Whoever she played with, she gave you 30 points.”
Police believe the shooting may have stemmed from a feud between the Grant Houses in Harlem, where Tayshana lived and the nearby Manhattanville houses.
"Something needs to be done about the violence in the projects — more security patrols, more police something," said Dorothy Harris, 18, of The Bronx, who went to high school with Tayshana and had friends in common.
Cops were hunting for Robert Cartagena, 20, and Tyshawn Brockington, 21, who allegedly shot Murphy as she ran away from them pleading for her life.
Officials believe the shooters may have been retaliating for an earlier incident involving Murphy's younger brother. Tayshana's family said that neither the girl nor her brother were involved.
A third suspect, Terique Collins, was arrested for passing a weapon to the alleged killers, police said. Grand jury proceedings against him were put on hold temporarily Friday.