Friends, family remember victim of DART rail attack at funeral

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by BRAD WATSON

WFAA

Posted on December 1, 2011 at 7:09 PM

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DALLAS - The attack was brutal and senseless.

The kind of crime leaving people angry, numb and questioning how can this happen.

Dallas police say last week a group of boys tried to steal a cell phone from DART passenger Octavius Lanier on a rail platform at the MLK station.

But instead they pushed him into a train, killing him. Police have arrested four juvenile males, with two of the boys just 12 and 14 years old.

Thursday at his funeral, those who knew him tried to make sense of his death and remember his life. The friends and family of Lanier say he did a lot of giving in his 19 years.

Out of Lanier's senseless death, Pastor Rickie Rush of the Inspiring Body of Christ Church urged the living go on with a lot of forgiveness.

"I wish I could say this is the first time this has ever happened," Rush said. "I wish I could say that this doesn't hurt, and I wish I could say that you won't cry. I wish I could say we'll never ever have to do this again. But I can't say those things, because we're going to go through this again, and this will hurt, and you will cry."

And there were tears.

Especially when the mother of one of the teenage boys arrested for allegedly pushing Lanier into the DART train hugged Lanier's mother, telling her over and over, "I'm sorry."

Friends described Lanier, who was known as Tay Tay, as a young man who loved to cut up and also help others, like neighbors, in spite of personal and physical challenges.

"You were determined, had courage and never gave up," said friend Tamara Calloway. "You kept a smile on your face, even when it got rough."

Lanier had diabetes, which left him weakened some days.

But he attended Dallas Can Academy; determined, principal Mene Khepera said, to get his high school diploma.

"He meant a lot to us because in him and his frail little body, he'd say, 'Keep pushing, Mr. Khepera, keep pushing,'" the principal said.

The diploma Lanier prized in life, he received in death, as Khepera awarded it posthumously to Lanier's mother.

Even in death, Lanier gave the gift of hope.

E-mail bwatson@wfaa.com

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