Family and friends of Kendrec Lavelle McDade gathered this week in Altadena to lay to rest the 19-year-old man who was shot and killed by Pasadena police.
The tearful morning funeral was held at the Metropolitan Baptist Church in Altadena and McDade’s body was then taken to Rose Hills Memorial Park and Mortuary in Whittier for burial.
According to media reports, mourners–many dressed in blue–wore purple ribbons with McDade’s picture on them. His No. 18, blue Azusa High School football jersey was also on display during the church service.
Anthony Mitchell, a friend of McDade, told ABC7 News, “It’s just devastating . . . . We don’t know what he could’ve been, but we know he was special. The way he lost his life was very tragic. It hurt.
“It’s not a race thing,” Mitchell told ABC7 News. “It’s not a White, Black, Asian, Mexican thing, none of that. It’s just actions that people are doing but not expecting the consequences at the end.”
McDade’s shooting by two Pasadena police officers on the night of March 24 has raised serious and uncomfortable questions for city leaders.
The police have tried to lay part of the blame for the fatal officer-involved-shooting on 26-year-old Oscar Carrillo, the man who called 911 to report the alleged theft of his backpack by McDade and another teen outside a taco truck in Pasadena.
Carrillo told the 911 dispatcher his alleged assailants were armed and police who responded to the scene thought they were in pursuit of armed robbery suspects, but no weapon was ever found on or near McDade after the shooting.
Pasadena police officers Jeffrey Newlen and Mathew Griffin, the pair involved in the shooting and now on administrative leave, said they thought McDade was armed and claimed they shot him when he allegedly reached for his waistband.
McDade’s family disputes the claim that McDade was reaching for his waistband when he was shot by the officers.
Carrillo later admitted to police that he lied about the teens being armed. He told ABC7 news he lied to try and get the police to respond faster because he was afraid for his life. Carrillo was later arrested by Pasadena police on March 28 and booked on involuntary manslaughter.
However, the L.A. County District Attorney’s office has declined to prosecute and Carrillo, who’s now out of jail, is facing deportation by federal authorities for alleged illegal entry into the country.
McDade’s family has hired a Beverly Hills law firm and filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city and the Pasadena police department.
According to the court documents in this case, McDade’s family alleges neither Newlen nor Griffin identified themselves as police officers or saw anything in the teen’s hands or on his clothing to indicate he had a weapon.
Griffin, the document alleges, fired multiple rounds at McDade from inside his vehicle, while Newlen fired from outside his patrol car.
The documents also allege that McDade did not die immediately, but instead was handcuffed and left on the street for a “protracted period of time without administering first aid.”
McDade later died at a hospital.
The lawsuit also alleges that officers present at the shooting scene conspired to suppress the truth.
City News Service contributed to this story.