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'They can't blame the mother, she loved her son' | Karon Blake laid to rest 2 weeks after he was shot and killed

Hundreds of people attended the funeral for 13-year-old Karon Blake, including councilmembers who pledged more resources for kids and families.

WASHINGTON — Family and friends said their final goodbyes Monday to Karon Blake, a 13-year-old boy shot and killed in Northeast, D.C. on Jan. 7. 

Hundreds of people showed up for the teen's funeral service at Israel Baptist Church, just one mile from the Brookland neighborhood where he was shot and killed. DC Police said a man -- who lives along the 100 block of Quincy Street, NE -- shot and killed Blake after claiming he saw the teen tampering with cars. 

Some say the tragic death marks a turning point in this city, where leaders must move quickly to address the crisis that is taking young lives.

Cellphone video of the church service shows a young woman fighting tears, her voice breaking as she sings. Outside of the church, WUSA9 spoke to Karen Christian, whose son is married to Karon’s grandmother.

“The family is hurt, very hurt,” she said. "But London (Blake's mother) is strong, and the family is strong.”

The shooting stirred emotions and outrage in the community with many people demanding justice and answers as to why a D.C. government employee and legal gun owner would leave his house at 4 a.m. to confront an unarmed boy he thought was breaking into cars.

“They can't place blame on the mother because she loved her son," Christian said. "She took good care of her son. I mean he's a kid – kids sneak out of the house all the time. I mean outside of putting locks on the inside of the house or something what do you do?

Councilmembers-At-Large Robert White and Kenyan McDuffie attended the service.

“To be inside that church today with that sight of those young kids is deeply distressful,” McDuffie said.

“And I knew how few of them are going to get help for that mental trauma that they are experiencing here and daily,” added White.  

The councilmembers pledged more resources, before and after school activities to keep kids occupied and off the streets, and support for families who need it most.

“Regardless of outcome of investigation or charges against shooter we know what we are called to do for young people right now -- address mental health and have things for them to do that they can pour there time and energy into," White said. "There are just too many communities where young people don't have that."

“We have to acknowledge the real fear people feel but we also have to acknowledge that when a 13-year-old is shot and killed, there is a failure somewhere in the system that allowed that to happen," McDuffie added. "What's missing in part is a sense of empathy." 

The farewell and celebration of life ended with a dove release at the cemetery.

The US Attorney has convened a grand jury to investigate possible charges in the case against the shooter.  His identity still has not been released.

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