BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – There wasn’t a dry eye in the Wilson-Wooddale funeral home Friday, as friends and loved ones said goodbye to 11-year-old Matthew Fortenberry.
His father Michael Fortenberry said his son with always be with him.
“My son is gone but he’s not forgotten. He’s going to live through me, my other kids and the rest of the family,” Michael Fortenberry said.
Matthew was shot and killed two weeks ago after the shooter allegedly held him and his family hostage.
“I want it to start with me as a victim of the crime and the violence to let everybody know the young kids and the fathers out there just to put the guns down,” Michael Fortenberry said.
Family members said that he was a funny kid, who loved to play basketball and had a bright future with his life in front of him.
“He was 11 years old and would have been 12 this October. I was just preparing myself to talk teenage talk with him,” Michael Fortenberry said.
East Baton Rouge leaders including Councilman Darryl Hurst attended the funeral. Matthew Fortenberry’s basketball coach also said a few words with his teammates beside him.
“It means so much to me to have these people, the school, family, friends, it means so much, I know he will live on forever,” Michael Fortenberry said.
Michael said if he could say anything to people going down the wrong path, to think twice before pulling the trigger.
“You got a beautiful life ahead of you, just think twice about making an important decision on your life, put the guns down and stop the violence,” Michael Fortenberry said.
And he doesn’t hold onto the rage for the shooter.
“It’s not right to fight fire with fire. I had hatred in my heart at first, trust me I did, but as days went by me crying and praying and talking to family and friends, that’s not the way to be the only way to kill hate is with love,” Michael Fortenberry said.
The alleged 17-year-old shooter’s next court hearing is April 17th. The District Attorney said that he plans to try him as an adult.