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Hundreds Turn Out For Slain Evanston Boy’s Funeral

DeJae Coleman (Source: Facebook)

DeJae Coleman (Source: Facebook)

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UPDATED 09/29/12 12:01 p.m.

EVANSTON, Ill. (CBS) — Hundreds of people turned out Saturday morning for the funeral of 14-year-old Dajae Coleman, the boy who was gunned down last weekend while walking home from a party on the west side of Evanston.

As CBS 2’s Courtney Gousman reports, Dajae, an honor student attending Evanston Township High School, was mourned at the First Church of God Christian Life Center, at 1524 Simpson St. in Evanston.

Services began at 10 a.m. The 11 a.m. funeral followed the wake.

The line stood at a standstill during the service, as people spilled out of the church, waiting to get inside.

Prior to the service, Evanston Police Chief Richard Eddington told CBS 2 the church would hold about 800 people, but expected at least a thousand people to be in attendance.

Many Evanston Township High School students, along with family and friends showed up to pay their respects to Dajae, who was a freshman at the school.

Many people wore some hit of red to honor Dajae. Family friends say red was Dajae’s favorite color.

The funeral program included a number of copied tweets from NBA stars, including LeBron James, Eddy Curry, and Paul Pierce, who all took to Twitter this week to address Dajae’s death.

“My prayers go to the family and friends of Dajae Coleman and all of Evanston. The violence has to end,” James tweeted on Wednesday.

LeBron James was Dajae’s favorite athlete, and James paid homage to the slain teen by tweeting a link to a belief statement the student wrote for his humanities class just days before he was killed.

Evanston Township High School has also set up a memorial fund for Dajae Coleman, accepting donations for the family to help cover funeral costs.

On Friday, Wesley Woodson, 20, was denied bond after being charged with a total of nine counts in the case — including two counts of first-degree murder.

The shooting that took Dajae’s life happened at 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 22, in the 1500 block of Church Street.

Evanston police say Woodson walked out of his home, just steps from the crime scene and confronted the group Dajae was walking with, shouting, “Which one of you bitches?” He then fired four rounds from a 9mm handgun.

Dajae was shot in the back while trying to run from the scene.

Investigators say Woodson mistook Dajae and his friends for a group that was involved in an altercation with his cousin earlier that night.

Dajae’s family members were present Friday during Woodson’s bond court appearance in Skokie, and Dajae’s mother talked about whether Woodson’s arrest would help bring closure.

“It’s a step in that direction,” said Dajae’s mother, Tiffany Rice. “It’s not closure, but it’s definitely a step, in, you know, in that direction.”

Police say Woodson has been arrested several times for various offenses, but had never been convicted. Earlier this year, Woodson was himself shot twice — the victim of an aggravated battery.

Dajae’s mother says her son did not know Woodson.