August 19, 2006
An Allendale man shot to death last week by a police officer was laid to rest today.
Family and friends of 31-year old Michael Moore said their final goodbyes...even though the investigation into his death is anything but final.
"Michael was a really good person," said family friend Shannon Pulimer. "He was my best friend, and I'm going to really miss him, and everybody else is going to miss him too."
"He was a very sweet person, very helpful, honest and kind," said Sharonda Washington, Moore's cousin.
Hundreds lined up outside of Allendale Fairfax High School waiting for Moore's funeral. The school's gym is the only place in town large enough to hold a crowd this big. Inside, more than one thousand people packed the bleachers.
"Everyone's kind of upset and sad at the same time," Washington said.
"Everybody's confused," said family friend Marvin Jenkins, Jr. "We got so many different stories about how it went down."
It all started at the intersection of Highway 301 and Mulberry Street in Allendale. A police officer noticed Moore's vehicle parked outside a business. After learning Moore's driver's license was suspended, a scuffle occurred and three shots were fired from the officer's gun--including the one that fatally wounded Michael Moore.
"I feel like if he didn't have no weapon, he should not have died the way he did," said family friend Mary Moultrie.
"I don't think it was right. Something's got to be done about it," said family friend Theodore Booker, Jr.
Who was at fault is still unclear. Allendale police chief Luther Gradson issued a statement about the incident, but he refuses to comment any further until the investigation is over.
No matter what happens, friends and family say Michael's memory will live on.
"I say whatever happens, let justice be done, because if he didn't have no weapon, he shouldn't have been shot down. They had sticks, they had Mace. Why didn't they just spray him or hit him? Not just shoot him in the back when he was walking off," Moultrie says . "I love him and I miss him, and if we could only get justice done, that is all we want."
The Allendale Police Department will not release the name of the officer whose bullet killed Moore, but they say they have placed him on administrative leave until the investigation is complete.