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Ramarley Graham Wake Draws Hundreds of Mourners to Bronx Church

By Trevor Kapp | February 17, 2012 8:02pm
Ramarley Graham was killed by police Feb. 2, 2012.
Ramarley Graham was killed by police Feb. 2, 2012.
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BRONX — Hundreds gathered at Bronx church Friday to mourn the death of Ramarley Graham, the unarmed teen who was gunned down by police inside his home earlier this month.

Family and friends of Graham’s streamed into the Crawford Memorial United Methodist Church on White Plains Road Friday afternoon for the 18-year-old’s wake, sobbing as they passed his open casket and writing notes in a book set up to collect memories of the teen.

Police chased Graham to his home at 749 E. 229th St. while investigating a report of a drug deal on Feb. 2.

Officers believed they saw a gun in Graham's waistband and entered the building before breaking through the door of his apartment, where they chased him into the bathroom and shot him in the chest.

Police ultimately found a single bag of marijuana and no gun.

The shooting sparked outrage in Graham’s community, leading to large rallies and protesters to label the police “murderers.”

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said both the officers involved in the shooting and their supervisor have been stripped of their guns and placed on desk duty.

At Graham’s wake Friday, those who knew the teen fondly recalled his life. Many wore shirts emblazoned with his photograph, embracing each other as they grieved for the dead teen.

“He was a good student, a fun kid,” said Paul Ramirez, who taught social studies to Graham as an eighth-grader at the Young Scholars Academy of The Bronx.

“It’s difficult not to see one of your students outlive you.”

His funeral is planned for 10 a.m. Saturday at the church, with the Rev. Al Sharpton expected to speak and Kirsten John Foy of Sharpton's National Action Network expected to deliver the eulogy.