Covington community holds service to remember former Holmes football star, bring about change

COVINGTON, Ky. -- Hundreds of people came together Saturday night to remember a young father and aspiring rapper who was gunned down in his front yard a week earlier.

Approximately 500 people, including friends, family members, religious leaders, packed into the Word of Life Church of God in Covington to attend a memorial service for 19-year-old Dasean Peterson, who was found suffering from gunshot wounds at 1705 Garrard Street on Oct. 27. He died a short time later at University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

One of the people in attendance was Quincy Tyus, who served as an assistant football coach at Holmes while Dasean played on the team. Tyus described his former player as a "good kid" and a "natural leader."

"Dasean was a great guy. He was just a natural born leader. He always took control on the field. He just wanted to be on the field," recalled Tyus.

"I'm just so happy that everyone is coming to see my baby," said Dasean's mother, Birgitte Peterson, who lost her son to what investigators are calling a dispute settled by violent street justice.

While some in attendance spent the day mourning the loss of a friend or sharing anecdotes to help remember the "fun-loving" teenager "taken far too early," others used the memorial event as a platform to push for change in the community.

Bishop Darin Miller, who officiated the service, said he hopes the young people who attended the service got the message that they need to be proactive if they want to save their "lost" generation.

"I believe this generation has lost (sight of) who they are and in order to find out who they are, they need to find out who created them," Miller said, alluding to both a higher power and the families that raised them.

Miller said Dasean's death should serve as a wake-up call to the community, which he feels hasn't done enough to build up resources and a support system for its young men and women.

"What do we have for them to keep them off the street, to keep them off of drugs, to keep them activate with their minds and stimulated, to keep them productive in society? What are we doing?" he asked. "It takes resources, the help of the whole city."

After the services, the group marched to the intersection of 17th and Garrard streets, the spot where Dasean was fatally shot, to continue the memorial. Attendees walked through neighboring streets wearing messages like "we miss you" on their clothing and demanding justice.

The march occurred one day after new details emerged in the homicide investigation -- showing a calculated, cold-blooded conspiracy to kill Desean.

Police say the eight suspects held a meeting before the fatal shooting to discuss how to execute the plan. 

The motive: a feud over marijuana that police say had reached a boiling point.

Starting in Alexandria, the suspects jumped in several cars and formed a convoy to locate Dasean and retaliate, according to the report.

A little more than 48 hours after his death, four adults and two juveniles were arrested. A day later, two more adults were arrested.

Jamell Darden, James Young, Mikyle Holloway, Hassan Abdullah, Reginald Bates and Eugene Smith are charged in connection with the killing. A 16- and 17-year-old have been charged as well.

Birgitte says the people accused of killing her son are some of the same people who used to play football with him and spend time at her home "just hanging out."

"They were all (Dasean's) friends at one point in time, always in my house at one point in time," Birgitte said. "These aren't the boys I knew."

At a vigil on Wednesday, Oct. 30, she said those involved must have had "no heart" to get in a car and choose to kill someone.

"Everybody loved Sean," she said. "He would give you some shoes if you didn't have them, cleats if you needed them and he did everything for his team, he did for his friends, for his family -- that's why I don't understand why he is gone."

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9 On Your Side web editors Holly Pennebaker and Max Alter contributed to this report.

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