Source: Tony Robinson (Scott Olson/Getty Images) / Getty
More than a thousand people came together to celebrate the life and times of 19-year-old Tony Terrell Robinson Jr. on Saturday, the biracial Madison, WI teen shot and killed by police on March 6, according to NBC News.
The funeral service took place at Madison East High School, and the auditorium the reached capacity quickly and went into overflow into the gym. The service began with a prayer and scripture reading, and a searing rendition of Mariah Carey’s “One Sweet Day.”
Family, friends, and loved ones spoke about the young man, including Alize Carter, who said that in one of her last conversations with Robinson, he said he was going to “live forever.” “You ever have that feeling like you’re going to live forever, like you’re never going to die?” she recalled him telling her, reports The Wisconsin State Journal. “I don’t know how I know it, but I do. Just watch, I’m going to change the world.”
The Journal also reports that his aunt, Lorien Carter, wrote a poem in Robinson’s honor and read it during the service.
In part, it said, “My nephew was not a victim. Victims do not survive. He is our martyr who lives forever in our lives. His loss was not in vain. His memory lives on … a champion of change. Cry for him now, but fight for him in time.”
In the more than a week since Robinson was killed by Officer Matt Kenny, who also killed another person on duty in 2007 (the shooting would later found to be justified), protests have rocked the city of Madison, many made up of teens, who walked out of classes and took to the streets and the State Capitol to proclaim that #BlackLivesMatter and against over policing in black and brown communities.
The AP reports that the family asked mourners not to bring signs or placards to the funeral, which attendees respected.
On Friday evening, the day before the Robinson’s homegoing services, the Dane County Medical Examiner released a preliminary coroner’s report saying that Robinson was shot in his “head, right arm and torso,” but did not confirm exactly how many times he was shot (there have been reports from protesters that it was five), nor if he was facing or turned away from the officer, according to the AP.
On March 6, police were called to respond to a call that Robinson was running in traffic and had assaulted someone. According to police, Officer Kenny heard a disturbance inside an apartment and pushed open the door, where he encountered the unarmed Robinson, who was shot in less than 20 seconds.
Madison Police Chief Mike Koval confirmed that Robinson was unarmed. The shooting is being investigated by the Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation, and Officer Kenny is on paid administrative leave pending the results of that investigation.