Family, school friends and a community said an emotional goodbye to 10-year-old Justin Wallace on Monday during his funeral service at Full Gospel Tabernacle in Far Rockaway, Queens.
Wallace’s life was taken from him by a single gunshot on June 5 at a home on Beach 45th Street in Edgemere. The suspected shooter, Jovan Young, allegedly opened fire on the youngster and his 29-year-old uncle in an incident stemming from an ongoing dispute, reportedly over a shared driveway. Wallace’s uncle sustained bullet wounds to his neck and hand, which were treated at Jamaica Hospital.
Young turned himself into police days later and is currently facing murder charges for a crime that outraged a city on edge for months while gun violence has increased at a staggering rate amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Wallace died just days before his 11th birthday, and his scheduled graduation from elementary school. A number of his former classmates and friends participated in Monday’s service with Wallace’s family.
Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz and NYPD Chief of Community Affairs Jeffrey Maddrey also took part in the service, comforting mourners while also paying their respects to the slain youngster.
The grief proved too much for some in attendance. Several of Wallace’s family members collapsed during the viewing and were treated by paramedics.
Wallace’s brother-in-law, Ryan Piccock, described the victim as an intelligent child who loved math and was “an absolutely joy to be around.”
A community resident Nicole Johnson said “our babies are dying before they get the chance to even live.”
“I hope and pray this makes a change. We shouldn’t be burying a child here,” added resident Juane Kingston.
Wallace is the youngest shooting victim so far to have his life claimed by gun violence which year to date has seen 687 people shot across the five boroughs.