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'My son, my son'

September 7, 2007 |  4:30 pm

Hollis_bryanmother_eunice_blackwe_4

Hollis_bryan_jd_2 Friday was the funeral for Bryan J.D. Hollis, 23, at Bethel Baptist in Watts.

Hollis died Aug. 28 after he was shot in the Nickerson Gardens housing project.

Babies cried and squirmed as the burgandy-upholstered pews filled for his service. Some of the mourners wore T-shirts with Hollis' picture.

Hollis_bryanthomas_grant_his_cous_3 Simpson's mortuary staff passed out programs. On an inside page was a tribute from his mother, Eunice Blackwell:

"My son, my son," she had written. "I don't know how to say what I'm feeling right now.... I will miss you so very much."

The tribute underneath was from his sister: "This is like unreal," her entry read. "Just him lying there, all the blood he lost and nobody to help him."

For most of the service, his mother sat silent, gripping a fan on stick, taking deep breaths, now and then lifting her dark sunglasses to dab her eyes. Two young women sang without accompaniment. A third walked up to microphone, tried to speak, then shook her head and sat down with a sob.

James Smith, a Watts youth worker, rose to describe how Hollis recently came to him "ready to change his life, to give up bad things and do the right thing for his family,"  Smith said. Another mourner remembered how he made people laugh. "He will be a comic in heaven," she said.

A family friend addressed the young men in the pews. A few cried discreetly. Others slumped, staring into space with clenched jaws. "You guys need to sit down and think about what you are doing to each other," she said.

Hollis_bryan Pastor Reginald Pope then led the mourners in prayer. As the services ended, a cousin, Venita Hebert, dressed in black and white, suddenly darted up to the podium.

"I'm out of the program," she admitted, leaning into the microphone. "But I want to say something."

She took a breath, then began to speak:

"If you can do anything in your power to prevent another black man from dying, you need to do it,"  she said, her voice rising. "I'm angry!"

As she spoke, a young man Hollis' age leaned forward, and buried his face in his arms.

The mourners filed up to view the open casket. A woman sobbed. A young man looked at Hollis' body, then threw his program down and crumpled to the floor, crouching with his head in his hands.

At last, a mortuary man prepared to close the casket. But Eunice Blackwell stepped in front of him.

Hollis_bryanmothers_hands_detail_3 She took the thick white cloth from his hands, and covered her son's body herself.

First she pulled the thick cloth up to his chin.

Then, with small motions, she tucked the cloth around his head, straightened his pillow, and smoothed the folds of the cover.

When she was done, for a brief instant, she let her hands rest lightly atop the white cloth.

Then, with a slight nod, she stepped back and turned away.


The comments to this entry are closed.

Comments (7)

TO MISS BLACKWELL GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR FAMILY FOR WHAT YOU ARE GOING THROUGH, KEEP YOUR HEAD UP AS HARD AS IT MAY BE RIGHT NOW, IT WILL GET BETTER, BUT THE PAIN WILL NEVER GO AWAY, ALL I HAVE TO SAY IS GET THE HELL OUT OF THAT PLACE, I HAVE FAMILY THERE IN L.A AND COMPTON LONG BEACH AND I REFUSE TO CAME BACK THERE, I LOVE THEM BUT THAT PLACE IS A WAR ZONE. GOD BLESS.

This is sad and I feel sincere sorrow for his mother and family. It is very sad because it is so senseless and a waste. I wonder how many more murders have to occur in Nickerson Gardens before the community decides it has had enough.

MS. EUNICE AND FAMILY I AM TRULY, TRULY SHOCKED OF THIS TRAGEDY. MY HEART GOES OUT TO EACH AND EVERYONE OF YOU. GROWING UP WITH YOU GUYS WAS THE BEST YEARS OF MY LIFE AND I COULD NEVER IMAGINE THIS HAPPENING. PLEASE BE STRONG FOR THE REST OF YOUR CHILDREN BECAUSE THEY WILL NEED IT. REMEMBER HE IS NOT GONE HE IS IN A BETTER PLACE. I WILL SEE YOU GUYS SOON. LOVE BIG FRED AND FAM.

So sorry for your lost. Just remember we as Parents need to do something about these aweful murders that are taking place

These is soooooo sad he had a loving family. I asked myself why is so many people dieing over no reason i hate this something must be done. More and more killing are happening. More and More suffering. More and More death happening in are city. Im so concern. My prayers go out to this family.

I am Bryan JD's aunt and the young lady that spoke Venita Hebert was Bryans first cousin my daughter and we will all miss Bryan very very much my sister Dana spoke also she said he would be a comic in heaven she is right because that is where he is in heaven My heart is still hurting tears still come to my eyes because this did not have to happen Why! How could someone do this to him he did not bother no one I hope the brothers stop killing each other.

Deeply sorry for his precious life being taken away from you.



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About the Reporters
The Homicide Report is compiled using information from the Los Angeles County coroner's office, local law enforcement agencies and the Los Angeles Times. It is written by Times staff writers.


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