ST. LOUIS Hundreds of mourners gathered at a St. Louis church Monday morning for the funeral of 18-year-old Michael Brown, whose shooting death Aug. 9 by a police officer began nearly two weeks of unrest in Ferguson, Mo.
The service began a bit after 10:30 a.m. at Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church. The church can seat about 2,500 people.
Inside the church, Brown's casket was closed. A black-and-red St. Louis Cardinals baseball hat rested atop the casket. Easels on either side of the casket feature photos of Brown as a boy and teenager.
The Rev. Al Sharpton gave a rousing address, bringing the crowd to its feet several times.
He said Brown's death demanded action.
"All of us are required to respond to this," he said. "All of us must solve this."
He said Brown's parents were doing something no parents should have to do.
"This afternoon, Lesley and Michael Sr. will have to do something that is out of order," Sharpton said. "They will have to lay their son to rest."
Sharpton said Brown would want to be remembered as someone who started a conversation about policing.
"America, it's time to deal with policing," he said. "We are not the haters, we're the healers.
"We can't have a fit, we gotta have a movement," he continued. "We have got to stay on this so we can stop this."
He called for unity.
"We are required to leave here today and change things," Sharpton said. "Michael Brown must be remembered for more than disturbances."
The Rev. Charles Ewing delivered the eulogy for his nephew. He said his message is to heal the hurt, not just in Ferguson but the whole nation. He asked for justice not just for Brown, but for Trayvon Martin, for victims of black-on-black crime, for the victims of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary.
Three White House officials were expected to attend. Black elected leaders planned to be there too, such as U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., and Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-Mo.
The service wrapped up about 12:30 p.m., with the Rev. Jesse Jackson leading the Brown family out of the church. Mourners then gathered at St. Peter's Cemetery.
Brown was unarmed when he was fatally shot by the officer, Darren Wilson, on a street in Ferguson. According to an autopsy, Brown was shot at least six times. Other details surrounding the incident remain unclear. Police have said that Wilson shot Brown after a struggle over the officer's handgun. A friend of Brown's has told authorities that Wilson was the instigator and shot Brown after he raised his arms to surrender.
The shooting of Brown, who is black, by a white officer has fueled racial tensions.
A St. Louis County grand jury began hearing evidence in the case last week. Prosecutor Robert P. McCulloch says it could be mid-October before all of the evidence has been presented to the grand jury. The jurors will decide if there is probable cause that a crime was committed and if Wilson, 28, committed it.
Federal investigators are conducting their own probe into the shooting.
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