Service held for 15-year-old Demantrae Franklin

By Kumasi Aaron - Reporter/The Morning Show anchor, Jason Mealey - Producer/assignment editor

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Classmates, friends and family said goodbye to a 15-year-old Jacksonville boy Saturday.

Demantrae Franklin (pictured above) died after being shot several times in the back.

Police found his body behind a building in the Eureka Gardens Apartments off LaBelle Street last week.

Demantrae's friends filled Bethel Baptist Institutional Church to celebrate his life.

With songs, scripture and prayer, those in attendance tried to comfort each other, sharing and remembering the good times spent with the Ribault High School student.

Demantrae Franklin

With his classmates filling the pews, church Bishop Rudolph McKissick, Jr said the tragedy could also serve as an opportunity.

"I want young people to really begin to respect the sanctity of life. And to really respect what life is all about," said McKissick.

He told the crowd the culture of death that many have gotten used to has to change. He challenged them to think differently, but also challenged church members to offer an option to help them change.

"I hope they walk away with hope that the church is here to assist, and to be a comfort and to be a learning place.  I hope they walk away from here saying that life is bigger than waking up every morning wondering if this is going to be the last day I wake up, " said McKissick.

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