North Richmond mourns Marquis Hamilton
on December 8, 2011
Marquis Hamilton had moved out of North Richmond.
But he died there, and that’s where he was mourned.
More than 300 people turned out for Hamilton’s funeral at New Hope Church Wednesday, packing the worship hall and leaving dozens more to linger and reminisce on Alamo Avenue.
“It’s crazy man,” said Darvone Crenshaw, 21. “One day he’s here, cracking jokes and smiling and talking about his music, and now he’s gone.”
Mourners and clergy remembered Hamilton as a fun-loving prankster who snatched the bed covers off his seven brothers and five sisters and borrowed friends’ bicycles without their knowledge – only to return them with a laugh.
Hamilton, 20, was killed in a drive-by shooting Nov. 25. He was standing outside a corner store near Market Avenue and Fifth Street when a car stopped in the intersection and someone inside opened fire.
Hamilton was hit at least once in the torso while scrambling for cover. Store employees called 911 and tried to assist Hamilton, who maintained consciousness until paramedics arrived.
Hamilton was pronounced dead that night at a local hospital. His death marks the fifth homicide in unincorporated North Richmond this year. The community, home to less than 4,000 people, has consistently ranked as one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the state for the last decade. Sheriff’s officials have not made arrests in any of the killings this year.
On Wednesday, there was no shortage of tears, but friends and family preferred to focus on Hamilton’s upbeat personality.
His mother, Jennifer Goodwin, said her son was an irrepressible comic who didn’t dwell on the tragedies that marked his life. His father, Nelson Hamilton Jr., died when Marquis was a boy. Eight months ago, Hamilton attended a funeral for Ervin Coley III, a neighborhood friend who was killed in a drive-by shooting.
“Erv wasn’t involved in none of that negative stuff,” Hamilton said while standing with friends in the parking lot of Hilltop Community Church on April 14. “Look how much love he had out here,” he said, gesturing toward the sprawling crowd.
Hamilton was a part-time employee in a program funded by the Contra Costa County Human Development Department and community mitigation funds collected from a nearby waste transfer station. He worked with several other youths and young adults picking up trash, tending neighborhood gardens, and doing other community beautification.
Staff at Shields-Reid Community Center, which houses the program, on Wednesday remembered Hamilton as a solid worker with a positive attitude.
During the memorial services, Richmond Police, County Sheriffs and California Highway Patrol cruisers steadily circled the surrounding blocks. Police Capt. Mark Gagan said last week that police were on high alert since Hamilton’s death. Rivals in North, central and south Richmond have a history of retaliating after deadly shootings.
Dejia Williams stood next to a white hearse parked in front of the church as mourners filed out. Her eye makeup was smeared.
“(Marquis) didn’t live here anymore, but this was his neighborhood. This is where his life was,” Williams said.
Hamilton leaves behind two young children, a daughter and a son, his mother said.
North Richmond homicide victims 2011
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