Members of the Baton Rouge community pay respect to Sterling, call for peace

Large crowds drawn to Southern's campus for Alton Sterling visitation
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Amid the torrential rainfall, thousands came to the Southern University Mini-Dome Friday to pay respect to the life of Alton Sterling.

"It's just hurting in my heart today, because of the fact that all lives are important," said Florence Brister, a member of the Baton Rouge community member.

People began lining up early in the morning for the public visitation. Some were complete strangers, while others were close friends of Sterling.

That includes Darrel Jupiter, who knew Sterling for the past decade. At 4 a.m., Jupiter got a tattoo that read "RIP Alton" as a tribute to his friend.

"If you had a chance to meet him, you would love him," Jupiter said. "He loved his kids. Without him I wouldn't even have my life, he introduced me to my wife. It's like I'm destroyed."

Still, the way Sterling died was on the mind of many. That incident that sparked a week of protest in Baton Rouge and across the country.
"I'm hoping and praying that it doesn't happen again. I'm hoping and praying that everyone is safe. I'm hoping and praying that God comforts the immediate family," said Latoya Lewis, a student in Baton Rouge.

Rep. C. Denise Marcelle, D-Baton Rouge, called for an open dialogue about race and changes to police policies and tactics.

"I want my city to heal, to mend, and I'm certainly praying for this family that this will be peaceful, that we can at some point get back to a whole city because I feel right now we're pretty divided," Marcelle said.

As the funeral service came to a close, many gathered along the street as the casket carrying Sterling rolled out of the Southern Mini-Dome.

"We as a community, we have to come together and stop the violence," Jupiter said.

"I ask Baton Rouge, be 'one' Baton Rouge and stay calm, keep peace," Brister said.

The memorial service came just one week after protests broke out outside of the Baton Rouge Police Department. The family of Sterling has repeatedly called for peace and nonviolence.

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