San Jose teen funeral takes place thanks to donations

July 6, 2013 10:58:50 AM PDT
Funeral and burial services for a teen boy slain in a June 21 gang-related shooting took place as planned Friday with the help of some last minute donations and a local cemetery, according to a family spokeswoman.

The family of Manuel Urzua laid the boy's remains to rest at the Oak Hill Memorial Park in San Jose thanks to 21 donors who gave $4,300 within a day of the funeral, said Margaret Patros, executive director of the advocacy group Mothers Against Murder.

On Wednesday, 12 days following Manuel's death, the boy's family had raised just over half of the $10,088 cost of his funeral and burial plot at Oak Hill.

Cemetery managers told them the boy's scheduled service, set for Friday, would not happen unless the fees were paid in full, Patros said.

By Thursday, after publicity about their plight, the family received $1,800 from 20 donations ranging from $20 to $1,000, still about $2,500 below what they needed by Friday, Patros said.

But Oak Hill's assistant sales manager Paul Letsinger promised the family the boy's services would go on and he obtained the $2,500 from an anonymous donor on Thursday, Patros said.

Patros issued a statement on behalf of Manuel's family thanking Letsinger, Oak Hill and donors for their compassion.

The boy was walking in the 1600 block of Virginia Avenue in East San Jose at about 6 p.m. on June 21 when he was shot in what San Jose police said a gang-related attack.

He died shortly afterwards at a local hospital.

The teen had a job at a flea market and wanted to join the military, Patros said.


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