An overflow crowd spilled out of the sanctuary and into the vestibule of a West Baltimore church Wednesday morning for the funeral of Jason Mattison Jr., a 15-year-old killed last week in a brutal attack.
The principal at Jason's school announced a scholarship fund set up in his name. Friends and family recalled stories involving the rambunctious teenager, who had dreams of becoming a pediatrician. And the reverend of the church told hundreds of mourners that the boy's death should serve as a warning to the downtrodden neighborhood where it happened to closely watch all kids.
Several students from Jason's school, Vivien T. Thomas Medical Arts Academy, attended the 90-minute service held at Unity United Methodist Church on Edmondson Avenue, some of the teens becoming so overcome with emotion that they stepped outside.
"No one is truly gone if you carry them in your heart," Principal Starletta Jackson said. "And Jason is a part of our heart. We all knew that Jason wanted to be a pediatrician. There was never a question of whether or not he was going to make it. Some children we have to pray over a lot -- pray for grades that they pass, but we never worried about that with Jason."