MILWAUKEE -- Police were called to Good Samaritan Church of God in Christ near 52nd and Burleigh in Milwaukee for a disturbance Tuesday afternoon. Inside the building, people had gathered for the funeral of 19-year-old Raheem Johnson, when witnesses say someone pulled a gun.
Johnson was shot killed near Fond du Lac Avenue and Tamarack around 1:30 a.m. Sunday, February 12th. Police say the incident started in the street as a dispute, followed by a double shooting. Police say the shooter in this incident was acting in self-defense.
Johnson's family told FOX6 Wednesday they just wanted a quiet service, but instead, got a spectacle.
Annette Chappell is Johnson's grandmother. She says she worried the crowd would upset the casket. "All of a sudden I hear a commotion in the back - somebody fighting. I see a lot of kids running up to his casket and I said to the funeral home, 'don't let them get him, don't let them touch him,'" Chappell said.
Arthur Reid is with Reid's New Golden Gate Funeral Home. Watching the video from Tuesday's disturbance, he showed FOX6 why he was forced to lock the casket shut and protect it. "They rushed the pulpit, rushed through the doors, trying to get out the doors," Reid said.
Before the fight broke out, Reid says the church was over capacity. When people became unruly, blocking the aisles, they tried to empty the building. "It just got totally out of hand, but the police department moved in and handled things very well," Reid said.
Police cleared the building and issued citations for disorderly conduct. They haven't said what started the fight.
Johnson's family says all they ever wanted was a peaceful service. "We had been planning the funeral for everybody to see him, and say nice things about him, but it turned into a show," Chappell said.
Johnson's family says claims that the casket was overturned are untrue. After police cleared the building, they were able to have a private ceremony for immediate family only, but the disturbance forced them to postpone Johnson's burial. Instead, they buried him Wednesday morning, with police on hand to ensure their privacy.