BROOKHAVEN, Miss. (AP) — Funeral services were held Saturday for the youngest victims killed in Mississippi when a man first opened fire at his in-laws’ house, ultimately killing eight people at three separate homes.
Multiple media outlets report that more than 1,000 people attended the services for 11-year-old Austin Edwards and his 18-year-old cousin Jordan Blackwell inside a Brookhaven junior high school in Lincoln County. Twin caskets stood at the front of the stage where friends and family recounted how each had touched their lives.
There was not a dry eye in the house as family members recounted how the boys had touched their lives.
“Austin was my assistant cook,” said the Rev. Shon Blackwell, Jordan’s father. “He liked prepping the meat, cooking the meat. But most of all, he like eating the meat,” drawing laughter from the crowd.
“Jordan, on the other hand, liked to smell the meat before eating it. I still don’t understand that,” he said with a smile.
“Their memories will live on,” said their uncle, who also sang a couple of gospel songs in their honor. “Every time I go fishing, I’ll think about Austin, and though my nephew Jordan didn’t like my Pittsburgh Steelers, every time I turn on the TV and watch any kind of football, he’ll be here.”
“He was a real bright kid,” said Austin’s teacher Dorice Coleman. “Very intelligent. Looked just like his grand daddy.”
“He was very energetic,” said Bridgette Gilmore, Jordan’s 4th grade teacher. “He was a comedian. Always kept me laughing… Always kept me smiling.”
The boys were among eight people killed during a series of shootings last weekend started by a domestic dispute. Willie Cory Godbolt, 35, faces one count of capital murder in Lincoln County Sheriff’s Deputy William Durr’s death and seven counts of first-degree murder. He is jailed without bail.
Aside from Durr, everyone killed was a relative or acquaintance of Godbolt.
The remaining five victims will be laid to rest Sunday and Monday in two separate services at the junior high school.
This story has been corrected to fix the spelling of the Rev. Shon Blackwell’s first name from Shawn.
Information from: WLBT-TV, http://www.wlbt.com