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Loved Ones Say Goodbye To Antwon Rose

Hundreds gathered for the funeral for 17-year-old Antwon Rose at Woodland Hills Intermediate School Monday. Rose was fatally shot by an East Pittsburgh police officer last Tuesday after running away from a car that had been stopped by police. 

Yellow school buses shuttled in groups of people to attend the ceremony, while the procession of friends and family drove by in cars, some featuring the message "Justice for Antwon."


Credit Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA
90.5 WESA
A car with yellow window paint reads "Justice 4 Antwon / Justice 4 Antwon" as it pulls into the Woodland Hills Intermediate School parking lot for the funeral of Antwon Rose on Monday, June 25, 2018.

According to the service program, Rose excelled academically and loved playing basketball, skating, and surfing.  On the back of the program, a poem Rose wrote two years ago called "I am not what you think" was printed in purple italics. In the poem, Rose writes about not wanting to be "a statistic." 

Jeffrey Walker, who said he was Rose's cousin, called the teen a "respectful kid."

"That's all I know him to be--all his life, that's all I knew," Walker said. 

Another cousin, Missy Carter, said the service was a "celebration." 

“He was a good person, a good student, loved his family, as we loved him," Carter said. "Justice will be served.”

Ayodeji Young, of Homewood, talked about how Rose's death has brought attention to social injustices in the Pittsburgh area. He said the funeral reflected Rose's life. 

Credit Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA
90.5 WESA
Homewood resident Ayodeji Young told reporters after Rose's funeral that protesters would continue to encourage Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala to press charges against the East Pittsburgh police officer. "Us in the community are going to keep applying pressure, keep going day after day," he says.

"It was one of the best, heartfelt, most heart-warming ceremonies," Young said. 

Monday marked the second day without a protest since Rose's death. Community members said they would hold off on protesting the day of the funeral out of respect for the family. The Pittsburgh Department of Public Safety today said in a statement that only one person--a "motorist who incited the crowd"--had been arrested during protests Friday night. The demonstration took place near the baseball stadium on the North Shore.


Officials said, to maintain safety during future protests, officers will be working 12-hour shifts beginning Tuesday morning. 

"The City of Pittsburgh will continue to protect protesters' First Amendment rights while assuring that all people--from protesters to city residents and motorists who may be affected by road closures--remain safe," the statement said. 

Rose was a passenger in a car pulled over by East Pittsburgh Officer Michael Rosfeld. During the traffic stop, Rose and a second passenger fled. A video taken from a nearby house shows them running from the car.

Authorities said two handguns were retrieved from the car, and District Attorney Stephen Zappala said an empty gun clip was found in Rose's pocket.

Zappala will ultimately decide whether to press charges against the officer, but protesters have said the D.A. needs to go regardless.

“He has always stood with brutalizing police officers and he’s never stood with the oppressed black and brown people of Allegheny County," said Jasiri X, an activist and musician, at a rally last week.

Lawyers for Rose's family have said no evidence has been produced to show Rose posed a threat to police.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was updated at 3:57 p.m. June 25, 2018 to bring in additional voices of attendees.

Katie Blackley is a digital editor/producer for 90.5 WESA, where she writes, edits and generates both web and on-air content for features and daily broadcast. She's the producer and host of our Good Question! series and podcast. She also covers history and the LGBTQ community.