12-year-old W. Memphis boy laid to rest

DeAunta Farrow's death seems to touch everyone who hears about what happened.

And it was evident on Sunday as hundreds of people came together to remember a boy who lost his life more than a week ago when he was shot and killed by a West Memphis police officer.

Brenda Merritt watched as the little boy's body was brought to the West Memphis Civic Auditorium by horse drawn carriage.

Merritt says she was struggling for composure. She never knew DeAunta Farrow, but came because she feels what happened to the boy was wrong.

"You know once they saw that child they knew. And I don't believe West Memphis police would do something like that. It's hurting and I know what the family's going through," said Merritt.

Mourners said they're burying Farrow without any answers but want to remind West Memphis Police that they're not going to let this be swept under the rug.

Reverend Al Sharpton flew to Memphis early Sunday morning to attend the funeral. He said that he was personally invited by Farrow's mother.

Sharpton said the child's death is causing concerns among people around the U.S.

"Any time you have a 12-year-old child with a toy gun in his belt, soda pop and chips in his hand and to be dead by the hands of the police - everybody ought to be concerned abut that at best. You ought to be saying what kind of training is that, at worst you ought to be saying how can we let people kill young children," said Sharpton.

Sharpton also said his National Action Network Organization is working to help Farrow's family with moral support. Legal and financial help will also be available to the family.

West Memphis Police were at the Steeplechase apartment complex staking out a nearby convenience store when two youngsters walked into the complex.

"One of the persons they encountered had what appeared to have a firearm in his hand," said Mike Allen with West Memphis Police Department.

Police said they ordered the young boy to drop the weapon, but when he made a gesture toward them, one of the officers fired at least two shots.

Farrow died moments later about the same time police realized the gun he was carrying wasn't real.

"My understanding is that it was not a real firearm but a replica-type toy firearm," added Allen.

Farrow lives about a block from the Steeplechase Apartments. He and an older cousin were walking to spend the night with other relatives who live at the apartment complex.

Farrow graduated from the 6th grade last month.

"He was a very outgoing person. He kept everyone laughing. He just was a momma's baby," said Farrow's cousin Shameka Banks.

A mound of toys, statues and sympathy cards mark the spot where Farrow was shot to death. It's a way for friends and relatives to cope until all of their questions are answered.

"It don't make no sense or nothing but they took him out and that was wrong," added Farrow's aunt Rosemary Farrow. "Why did it happen? You know that's a kid," she said. One way or the other we're going to get to the bottom of it and justice is going to be served."

While the two officers on duty are on suspension, Arkansas State Police and the FBI will handle the investigation.

Local police say it appears the officers did what they were trained to do.

"They took what action I feel like they thought was appropriate at that particular time," said Allen.

But Allen said that doesn't lessen the tragic nature of the situation--that a 12-year-old brandishing a toy, lost his life.


to email Ben Watson.