Murdered high school football player remembered at memorial

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Hundreds of mourners poured into a Gardena church today for the funeral of 18-year-old Dannie Farber. Somebody shot the stand-out football player for Harbor City’s Narbonne High School almost two weeks ago while he was eating dinner in a Compton Restaurant. KPCC’s Brian Watt attended the funeral.

Rob Thrash: To a lot of people, this is just another nigger laying in a casket. But I will have you know this morning that this is a son, this is a friend, a cousin, a student.

Brian Watt: Rob Thrash officiated at the ceremony. Thrash works as a counselor at Narbonne High. He spent a lot of time with Dannie Farber.

Thrash: He tattoed on his arm “Survive 18.” And that’s what he did. I saw that, I said, “Dannie, I wish you had written ‘Thrive’ and put as many marks on your arm as could fill it up.”

Watt: The 18 years that Dannie Farber did survive were full of football. He was 5 when he started playing. He helped lead the Narbonne High Gauchos to an All-Los Angeles City Championship. His teammates wore their black jerseys over their dress clothes to the funeral. Narbonne freshman Tremaine Brewer has known Farber since both played Pop Warner football.

Tremaine Brewer: We was just with him that Friday – talking, laughing, playing around like always – in front of the A building. Now he gone, it’s just... It’s crazy.

Watt: Crazy that on a Sunday night in a Compton restaurant, as he ate dinner with a girlfriend, a man in a hooded sweatshirt reportedly approached Farber and asked “Where are you from?” When Farber stood up and asked “What are you talking about?” the hooded man shot him. The police suspect the shooting was gang-related, but nobody believes Dannie Farber was involved with a gang. Aneesa Rashid teaches at Narbonne High.

Aneesa Rashid: He was the kind of student that all teachers hoped to have. He was focused.

Kearia Jackson: He was real nice person. He was real nice and real sweet. He really was. I still think it’s a dream.

Watt: Kearia Jackson knew Farber through a cousin, and considered him a cousin.

Jackson: He loved school. He loved everything. (crying) He was happy. He was always happy.

Stevie Wonder (singing): Thy kingdom come, thy will be done...

Watt: Recording artist Stevie Wonder made an unexpected appearance to sing “The Lord’s Prayer” at the funeral. USC Football Coach Pete Carroll also spoke. As a woman sobbed behind him, Narbonne High School Football Coach Manuel Douglas remembered that he hugged his hardworking receiver every time they saw each other.

Coach Manuel Douglas: So the last time I actually saw him, he wanted a hug. But I was actually walking a scout out of the school from the University of Michigan. And I had to pull away and I told him, “I’ll be back, Dannie.” And when I came back, he was gone.

Watt: Dannie Farber had planned to play football at Los Angeles Harbor College, then become a firefighter. Detectives are still trying to find the person who ended those plans two weeks ago.

[Stevie Wonder song continues]

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