Hundreds Gather to Remember 18-Year-Old Homicide Victim; Men Implored to End Violence

Anna Orso, Penn Live, August 26, 2014

It was a juxtaposition unlike any other.

In the background, joyous, upbeat music played over a loudspeaker, celebrating the life of Malik Tavon Stern-Jones. In the foreground was a mother, clad in white, hunched over the silver casket of her son, wailing.

Just an hour after the harrowing scene of Noni Stern mourning the loss of her 18-year-old, hundreds of young men gathered around the box where his body lie, the area surrounded by red and white flowers–the same colors of the balloons his closest family members released last week in his remembrance.

The men in the front of the church hugged each other, and were implored by Rev. Ronald Young “to do something”–to promise to end the violence.

“It stops now,” he said six times over.

More than 500 friends, family and loved ones gathered at the From the Heart church on 13th Street in Harrisburg Tuesday for Stern-Jones’ funeral. Just a few blocks away on Sumner Street in the Hall Manor public housing complex, Stern-Jones was found gunned down a week ago, sitting in the front seat of a car.

He was killed by a single shotgun wound to the neck. The boy charged with his murder is Niejea Stern, 15, who is facing charges of criminal homicide in connection with the killing. {snip}

According to relatives, Niejea Stern grew up a troubled child, serving several stints in juvenile detention centers for fighting. He had apparently escaped from employees at a local center just days before the homicide took place.

{snip}

Several relatives confirmed that Niejea Stern and Malik Stern-Jones were cousins, however, some said the two didn’t know they were related.

There are eight homicides on record in Harrisburg to-date in 2014, six of those–including Malik Stern-Jones–being from gun violence. Prosecutors and police have yet to release a motive in the case.

{snip}

Family members and close friends remembered Malik Stern-Jones through T-shirts and stories. His four children–Mai’Lani, Malik Jr., Ma’kye and Zyree–each under the age of 2, wore shirts that read on the back, “Long Live Daddy.”

The 18-year-old known by friends as “Leaky Mane” and “Grady,” was an avid basketball player and had a job as a laborer at an online pet food retailer based in Harrisburg.

{snip}

Topics:

Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.