Friday, December 12, 1997
Hundreds attend killer's funeral

The Cincinnati Enquirer

Police look down East 14th Street at a disturbance after services for Alonzo Davenport. He was memorialized with graffiti.
(Kevin J. Miyazaki photo)
| ZOOM |
As the city of Cincinnati continued to mourn slain officers Daniel Pope and Ronald Jeter, Over-the-Rhine residents gathered to grieve for the man who killed the policemen.

Alonzo Davenport's relatives, neighbors and friends came by the hundreds to his funeral Thursday afternoon. Others memorialized him with graffiti in the neighborhood where he grew up and on sweat shirts printed up for his funeral. Mr. Davenport, 20, shot himself after shooting the two officers a week ago today in his Clifton Heights apartment.

''A lot of these people went to school with (Mr. Davenport). When one of their own falls - it's like with the police officers. When two of their own fell, they all came together,'' said Robert Townsend, 30, who lives in Over-the-Rhine and works for a window-washing firm.

Shortly after the service at Garr Funeral Home, West End, police were called to Race Street, where dozens of teens had gathered to mourn Mr. Davenport. After arresting four people for throwing rocks and bottles, police barricaded a half-block and allowed the crowd to sing and chant uninterrupted.

Alonzo Davenport
''They expressed their sympathy to us about the deaths of the two officers,'' said Capt. Thomas Streicher, District 1 police commander, after meeting with the group and agreeing to let them stay. ''Mr. Davenport is a friend of theirs, and they want an opportunity to mourn him.''

The tributes to Mr. Davenport began shortly after his death in the park at Jefferson Avenue and Calhoun Street. On Thursday morning, rose petals and a torn greeting card marked the spot where he died. Autopsy results released Thursday confirmed that Mr. Davenport had died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the right side of his head.

Along Race Street in Over-the-Rhine, a half-block from the Republic Street home where Mr. Davenport grew up, graffiti memorialized him. The side of one building was covered in red and black spray paint reading ''Remember Lonnie.'' Young men wore sweat shirts printed with the words ''RIP Lonnie Lon 38 Special.''

Mourners packed the funeral home for the service, with some waiting more than half an hour to sign a condolence book. There were few references during the service to the way Mr. Davenport died, but the Rev. Peterson Mingo urged the crowd to turn to faith for an answer to their pain.

''This isn't a black-white issue. This isn't a police issue,'' he said. ''It's a spiritual issue, and that's how we need to deal with it.''

Some who approached the funeral home were disgusted by the sweat shirts some mourners were wearing - one of which was placed in his casket before it was closed - and by the beer and marijuana some mourners carried with them. Nichole Headen, 21, went with friends to the Police Officers Memorial before going to the funeral, even though she knew none of the men who died.

But after arriving at the funeral home and watching the parade inside, she couldn't go in.

''It's just so disrespectful,'' she said of the sweat shirts, which had ''SOLDIER'' and other neighborhood references written on the back. ''I almost started crying, that's so disrespectful. . . . To say he's a true soldier for killing an officer.''

But others defended the shirts, not as a slap at police, but as a gesture of love for their friend.

''They're saying, 'We love you,' '' said Alana Strother, the mother of one of his two daughters. ''They're not saying, 'You did the right thing.' It's saying, 'We love you.' ''

Mark Skertic contributed to this report.

Today's report

Jeter visitation: Tears burn once more
Caller did everything he could
Caravan will head up I-71 to funeral
Public feels guilt, sadness
Web sites, memorials, tributes

Thursday's report

A hero's farewell: Officer Pope laid to rest
Homily: Faith eases hurt, anger
Piper's sad song sends a fallen fellow officer home Cliff Radel column
Spc. Jeter's visitation today

Wednesday's report

Pope visitation: Thousands pay their respects
Witness: Killer hid gun in pants
Pastor hopes funeral brings peace
Spc. Jeter's organs donated

Tuesday's report

911 boss admits error likely
Borgman cartoon
Shock, grief and guilt Laura Pulfer column
City thanks slain heroes
Killer's family visits his home
Many officers limited in experience
Forces across Tristate take heed
Names to be added to memorial

Monday's report

Argument preceded shooting
Tragedy puts face on job Cliff Radel column
Families lean on faith, memories
Friends, acquaintances mourn
Grief stays, say families who know
Police deaths declining

Sunday's report

Community mourns fallen officers
Suspect's family: He was 'respectful'
Sequence of events
Officers highly regarded
Officers deal with sorrow, job's risks
Chief's message: 'Take care of each other'
Hollister St. residents shocked