By: Victor “Doc V” Trammell
Family, friends and gang members on Friday bid their final goodbyes to slain teenage rapper Joseph “Lil JoJo” Coleman in funeral that was embroiled in tension and fear. There was a heavy police presence at the scene. Officers confiscated a loaded .45 caliber pistol after a weapons search conducted at a gas station nearby. The suspect was an attendee of the funeral as well. Mourners prayed in the Jones Funeral Home parlor as others smoked marijuana in the parking lot.
While family members paid their last respects, a crowd of young men eager to take a last look at Lil JoJo’s body lunged toward his casket, nearly knocking it to the floor and pushing family members out of the way.
The commotion drew outrage from relatives of the slain 18-year-old and several hundred other mourners, including a person who picked up a microphone and yelled, ”Y’all being disrespectful!”
Lil Jojo was gunned down last week as he rode on a bicycle with a friend at 69th Street and Princeton Avenue in the South Side of Chicago’ss impoverished Englewood neighborhood. Investigators have been looking into whether a war of words in the Chicago hip-hop community was linked to the slaying. A taunting tweet by rapper Chief Keef drew the interest of law enforcement. Label reps for Chief Keef subsequently released statements saying the rapper’s Twitter account was hacked. The account was also shut down immediately following the tweet.
“People are showing zero tolerance for (this behavior at) these gang funerals,” said Cmdr. James Gibson, whose Morgan Park police district covers Beverly and Mount Greenwood, predominantly middle-class neighborhoods where many police officers, firefighters and other city workers live near Chicago. ”There’s a constant dialogue (with the community) to come up with fresh ideas to help keep this under control.”
Lil’ Jojo was laid to rest at Mount Hope Cemetery on Chicago’s far South West Side. Though tensions mounted, no one was killed at the funeral proceedings.