CONCORD, N,C, -- Aveanna Propst was known for her kindness toward others and a personality that would light up a room.
Today, friends and family said goodbye at a funeral where tears were shed, songs were sang and memories of a joy-filled, vibrant young girl with her life ahead of her tragically cut short were shared.
The service was at Barber-Scotia College Church in Concord and filled with lots of praise to God per the family’s request.
“Giving a lot of praise song and just giving God the glory because I mean, this is one of the times that you are really close to God," said William Sumlin, a friend of the family.
13-year-old Aveanna’s family called on their faith during the funeral to celebrate the life of their little princess.
“She’s a princess. She says she’s a good girl. She’s wanting to go somewhere else. That’s it," said Thomas Cousa, one of her teachers.
“She was lively in everybody, like she had the kind of personality that I think when you when you met her, you would be like, ‘Wow,’ you know, because she is the kind of person that she was and will always be," said Sumlin.
“Aveanna loved to dance. That was her thing,” said Alnesha Brown, an adopted family member. “She was just having fun living her best life and loving on everybody and everybody loved her.”
The funeral was packed, not even room to stand.
“It’s packed. A lot of people came out to pay their respects there and the family. I’m estimating it’s got to be over 400 people, well over 400 people that I’ve seen so far," said Sumlin.
But the agony of how she was lost—due to gun violence—sits heavy for cousins like Brown who had to step out of the service.
"It’s like it’s devastating, heartbreaking. I can’t even stay. I can’t take it,” said Brown.
Police say Aveanna died after getting caught in the crossfire of a shooting outside of Concord Mills.
“It’s sad that she’s not here, you know, and we are hoping that that this death, you know, brings awareness to the guns and the negative things that’s going on in the community," said Cousa.
Pastors called attention to the guns and violence and the pain caused by it at this funeral. While the pain was real and gripping inside her service, so was the praise.
Aveanna’s alleged shooter Dontae Black is in custody under no bond in the Cabarrus County Jail. He is charged with first degree murder and felony rioting. If he’s convicted that could come with a lifetime prison sentence or the death penalty.
Previous story updates:
Dave and Buster’s said they will be closed Sunday and reopen Monday at 10 a.m.
UPDATE (11:10 p.m.): A 13-year-old girl was killed in a shooting outside Concord Mills mall. Two boys, ages 15 and 16, were also shot, according to Concord Police.
In a press release issued just before 12:30 a.m. Sunday, Concord Police say they were called to the Dave and Buster’s parking lot at Concord Mills Boulevard in regards to a fight. They determined there was a shooting in front of Dave and Busters in which two boys were injured. The boys are expected to survive. Police say the third victim, a 13-year-old girl, died as a result of the shooting.
Concord Police are asking for your help. If you have any information about the shooting, call 704-93-CRIME or 704-920-5000.
UPDATE (10:38 p.m.): Concord Police have now secured the mall’s perimeter. Reunification for parents to pick their children up has been moved to the Sea Life Aquarium parking lot.
“It was just a lot of chaos and people running everywhere and I was kinda like ,'Oh, it could have been us,'” said Evelyn Romero, who was inside the mall at the time of the shooting.
“People came running, I thought it was a fight apparently gun shots because there’s two bodies over there on the ground and a mother can’t have her daughter tonight,” said Sean King who was inside the mall at the time. “I saw the girl’s momma on the wall so I knew it was serious.”
UPDATE (10:12 p.m.): One person was killed at the scene and two others have been transported to CMC-Main, according to Concord Police.
UPDATE (9:27 p.m.): The Concord Police Department has set up an area for parents to pick up their children at the Lowe’s on the corner of Concord Mills Boulevard and Derita Road.
Concord Police hasn’t said how many people were shot or the severity of their injuries.
They stress this is not an active shooter situation, but that people should avoid the area.