Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Oakland Funeral for Slain 14 Year Old Draws More Than 1,000

By Doug Oakley
Staff Writer
OAKLAND -- The open casket of 14-year-old Davon Ellis drew gasps from the throngs of teenage girls who filed by, hands over their mouths. Young men, wearing sunglasses and dressed in white from head to toe, tried to keep it together. 

Adults paused and wept; others stopped for only a second or two and kept on going. 

More than 1,000 people attended the funeral Tuesday in East Oakland for Davon, an Oakland Technical High School honor student and football player who was shot to death Feb. 28 on Brookdale Avenue in the Fruitvale district as he and two friends walked to a store. 

The high-profile funeral brought family and friends, a representative from Rep. Barbara Lee's office, Oakland school board member Nina Senn and Oakland Councilwoman Annie Campbell Washington. 

"He should not be in that casket," his father, Christopher Ellis, said during the funeral. "No family should go through this. It doesn't make any sense. We need to work as a community to clean up these streets. I'm going to spend the rest of my days to clean up the community." 

A peace march is planned for Davon 1:30 p.m. Sunday starting at Mosswood Park to Oakland Technical High School. 

"It's for all the kids," said Todd Walker, a close friend of the family. "We're tired of losing our kids. There's going to be a lot of kids there. And it's a march, not a protest." 

Christopher Ellis, at times overcome by tears, said that his son was "everything" to him and that he dedicated his life to making sure "everything was right for Davon." 

Like many of the other speakers at the funeral, held at Acts Full Gospel Church, Ellis called for an end to the violence. 

"At one point in time, black people had love for each other," Ellis said. "We gotta get back to that. There's too much fighting and too much shooting. We need to start showing more love and compassion toward each other." 

Police have not made any arrests in the case, but last week they did have a person of interest who was in custody for an unrelated crime, said Oakland police Chief Sean Whent. 

Russell Winston Jr., who coached Davon on the Bay Area Spartans football team, said he knew him from the time he was "this little chocolate boy, just galloping all over the place." 

"Davon was what us coaches call a coach's player," Winston said. "He never talked back. If Davon made a mistake, he'd say, 'My bad, coach. I got you.' He was the true meaning of an all-star player. He was an all-star in the classroom as well." 

Winston said Davon was a feared football player on defense. 

"You better not throw to his side; he's going to take it out of the air," Winston said. "On offense he played running back, wing back, right end, left end and receiver." 

LaKisha Ellis, Davon's stepmother, said she is going to miss Davon's friends coming over to her house and eating everything in sight. 

"Davon had a lot of friends who would come to my house, raid my refrigerator, raid my snack cabinet," Ellis said. "You guys are welcome to come to my house and still raid my refrigerator because that's what's going to keep him alive." 

Follow Doug Oakley on Twitter at

No comments:

Post a Comment