Orlando Lamar Yancy made people smile.
His friends and family told stories of how Yancy, known in his North Richmond neighborhood as “Rusty” or “Bucket,” would crack jokes on the basketball court—and just about anywhere else.
But that all ended on May 14, when Yancy, 22, was shot multiple times as he walked in front of the Senior Center at the corner of Fifth Street and Silver Avenue. Yancy, a lifelong North Richmond resident, was pronounced dead at the scene. No arrests have been made in the killing.
More than 200 people packed the cavernous worship hall of Hilltop Community Church on Friday for Yancy’s funeral service. Friends and family told stories of how Yancy acted silly and brought smiles to their faces, even during tough times. Clergy members and other community leaders also took the opportunity to implore the large gathering of mostly North Richmond residents to take back their streets and work with law enforcement to stop the violence that has plagued North Richmond for years.
“Ain’t nobody going to save us but us,” said Rev. Alvin Bernstine of Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church .“Do not forget this young man. Do not forget what is going on in our community. I pray we all have courage enough to turn it around.”
Bernstine said the community must not be silent about the perpetrators of violent crime, but must come forward if they witness violent crime in order to send a message that killings will not be tolerated.
Among the others who spoke Friday were Revs. Henry Washington, Kenneth Davis, Wesley Ellis, as well as and Rev. Dana Keith Mitchell of North Richmond Missionary Baptist Church.
Mitchell said Yancy had joined his church and was moving his life in a positive, spiritual direction before he was killed.
“Sometimes he was in the back, and he may have left (early),” Mitchell said. “But he was there, and that’s what was important.”
Yancy was born at Brookside Hospital in 1990, and went on to attend Verde Elementary and Richmond High School. He played basketball, football and baseball at Shields Reid Community Center in North Richmond, and was an irrepressible dancer and jokester, according to a eulogy printed in his funeral program.
Yancy is the third homicide victim in North Richmond this year, and the second in the unincorporated portion of the community, which is divided between city and county lands.
Outside the church, many of the Yancy’s younger friends gathered and shared memories their fallen friend.
“We all loved him,” said Garron Cooper, a North Richmond resident. “He had you smiling the moment you saw him.”