A family dispute following a funeral in Riviera Beach, Florida left two dead and two others injured on Saturday, Breitbart reported.
“To have to bury a loved one today, and then two more people lose their life is just real hard,” said Tywuante Lupoe, pastor of Victory City Church, located across the street from where the shooting took place.
Shots fired following funeral
According to an official statement from Riviera Beach police, officers were called to the scene of a shooting near Victory City Church around 2:30 p.m. Saturday.
They arrived to find three victims: a 47-year-old man named Royce Freeman, a 15-year-old boy, and one unidentified female, according to the Associated Press. The two males were pronounced dead at the scene, while the female was transported to a hospital to be treated for what were thought to be non-life-threatening injuries.
The deceased teenager was later identified as Terrance Jackson, a football player at Deerfield Beach High School, according to WPLG. Jackson reportedly made the decision to attend his grandfather’s funeral rather than take a trip with his football team to visit colleges.
Additional insight into what likely happened has been provided by Lupoe, the pastor who officiated at the funeral. According to his account, after the service was over, a fight between family members took place just across the street from the church, and it escalated into multiple gunshots being fired.
“Family feud” likely to blame
The pastor went on to indicate that the tragic turn of events did not exactly come as a surprise to him.
In fact, because he was already aware of an ongoing family feud among relatives of the deceased — and the fact that it might ultimately lead to violence at the funeral — Pastor Lupoe had put precautions in place in the form of armed security, which included one Riviera Beach police officer. Those measures were effective in terms of keeping funeral-goers safe during the service itself.
But after most of the attendees departed, so too did the armed security, and that’s when things got out of hand.
“It was a family feud that really went bad,” Lupoe explained, “and a young man tried to defuse it, but his way of defusing it was not a very, very smart way.”
The Riviera Beach Police are continuing their investigation into the incident. According to ABC News, a police spokesman assured the community that “the shooting was not a random act of violence,” and thus, there is no need for further concern among the public at large.
Law enforcement officials have not made any arrests yet, and no formal statement as to a possible motive has been released.