Unique Russell was mourned at a funeral Saturday at Inglewood Cemetery. She died at age 14 after being shot by unknown assailants during a family July 4 celebration near South Los Angeles. Ted Chen reports from Inglewood for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on July 14, 2012.
A teen whose shooting death on the Fourth of July sent a tight-knit block of 97th Street into mourning was laid to rest in Inglewood Saturday.
The casket holding the body of Unique Russell, a 14-year-old who was killed while she watched fireworks at a large family holiday celebration, was brought to Inglewood Cemetery in a white horse-drawn coach.
Hundreds of mourners attended the 11:30 a.m. ceremony. Many were emotional -- not just about Russell's death, but about the fact that her killing remains unsolved.
"Someone knows in that community who shot and killed Unique," said community activist Najee Ali of Project Islamic H.O.P.E. "Someone has to be a hero and turn who every killed this child ... into police. "
Others bemoaned the uptick in violence in the unincorporated area of Westmont that borders South Los Angeles. The block where Russell frequently visited her father on 97th Street near Normandie Avenue (map) has been home to an extended family for some four decades.
Some said the area had been a mostly violence-free oasis until recently.
"I can't stand the violence. It makes you just want to reach out and grab somebody and just say, 'Stop it! Stop it!'" said one funeral attendee. "It doesn’t make sense."
Authorities are still looking for Russell's shooter, and they've asked for help from witnesses. At an emotional press conference on July 6, Russell's mother Donna Wade pleaded for assistance.
"I know somebody knows something; somebody knows something. This is what we call the hood. Somebody knows something," Wade said at the news conference.
Russell's mother's friend who goes by the nickname "Tweety" said at Saturday's funeral that she was standing by to support Wade. "Tweety" lost her young son to a drunk driver in 2006 -- also on July 4.
"Any time of night that she needs me, I will be there," she said. "If she needs somebody to lay in the bed with her, I'm going to be there for her. Because I did it six years ago, and I had no one to do it with me."