Deerfield Beach High School football player who bypassed a team trip to several colleges so he could attend his grandfather’s funeral was one of two people killed in a Riviera Beach shooting Saturday, his coach confirmed.
Terrance Jackson, 15, “was killed at his grandfather’s funeral,” coach Jevon Glenn told the South Florida Sun Sentinel by phone from Auburn, Ala.
“We’re on college tours. I’m in Auburn with 20 kids. He stayed to go to the funeral,” Glenn said of Jackson, a sophomore who played defensive end.
Deerfield players are “still grieving” the death of teammates Bryce Gowdy in late December, Glenn said.
Riviera Beach police said the shooting happened on the street in front of Victory City Church, 163 W 20th St., shortly after 2:30 p.m., following a funeral that was held there. They said a 15-year-old boy and Royce Freeman, 47, died at the scene, and that a woman who was shot is being treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
A fourth person initially identified as a victim was actually shot in an unrelated incident elsewhere in the city, police said Saturday night.
No arrests have been made.
Investigators say the shooting was not a random act of violence. “While the motive for the shooting is still being investigated, it is believed it was a result of a dispute between relatives of the deceased whose funeral had been held,” Riviera Beach Police said in a statement.
They said listening devices in the area that detect the sound of gunshots counted 13 rounds fired.
Pastor Tywuante D. Lupoe said in a video statement that the church was “very aware” that violence was a possibility at the funeral because of a family dispute and that it had provided armed security. A Riviera Beach police officer also was present, he said.
Lupoe said the security guards and police officer had left after the service when there were only a few stragglers remaining in the area. He said that’s when a fight broke out across the street from the church and the shooting erupted. He said none of the victims are church members and no one was injured on its property. He did not provide further details about the funeral.
Lupoe chastised the police late Saturday night.
“Riviera Beach Police need to take responsibility too,” he wrote on Facebook. “As a church who serves the community, we called and asked for their assistance before this tragedy took place. We informed them of the potential violence. Our tax dollars should ensure we get what we need in order for our citizens and families can be protected. If we request you be there be there….”
Coach Glenn said the touring Deerfield Beach team members “didn’t take it well.”
“The kids are heartbroken,” he said, adding that they are still grieving from the loss of Gowdy, a college-bound player who died after being hit by a train in Broward County on Dec. 30.
A post on the team’s Twitter account read: “Why God!” with prayer and tear emojis.
Speaking by phone Saturday night, Glenn said he was about to meet with the students to decide whether to cut their trip short and return home. “We’re playing it by ear,” he said. The team had already visited the University of Florida, Valdosta State in Georgia, and Auburn. On Sunday, the team was scheduled to visit Florida State University in Tallahassee.
Glenn said Jackson was working hard to “perfect his craft” as a football player.
“He was waiting in the wings. This year was going to be his year.” Orlando Sentinel