NEW ORLEANS - It was a celebration of a life gone too soon that brought hundreds of people together inside a packed church on St. Bernard Avenue.
Family and friends remember Brandon Adams as a happy 15-year-old who made everyone smile. He was shot and killed last Friday while walking home with his 18-year-old brother in the Desire neighborhood. Police said the two were ambushed by two masked black males.
'I laid next to my baby on that ground and I prayed, 'Please bring him home to me, please.' That wasn't the home he was intended to go to,' said Adams' mother, Shawan Adams.
Inside the service, family members cried out in pain as they struggled to cope with the difficult loss. But a grieving mother found the strength to calm the crowd.
'I understand it hurts, but smile,' said Shawan Adams. 'Because my baby kept a smile on his face.'
Adams' mother said the honor student at KIPP Believe loved cooking, sports, and spending time with family. She hopes his death sent a message.
'Somebody has been praying for this family and yet God has got to take my baby for an eye opener, so I pray to God that a lot of y'all open your eyes because guess what? It's me now, it could be you tomorrow,' said Shawan Adams.
Adam's mother said she worried violence would hit her oldest son, who is recovering from gunshot wounds in the leg and back. But she never thought it would impact Brandon.
'I was praying for one son, and I asked God, 'Lord whatever you have to do to to protect my oldest child... whatever the cost.' And it was Brandon,' said Shawan Adams. 'We're going through this to save you, son. This is for you.'
And now, while the happy-go-lucky teen is being laid to rest, his mother said she knows he's in a better place and hopes he didn't die in vain.
'This is not supposed to be taken for granted. My child was taken for everybody to open up their eyes and think about what's going on in this city,' said Shawan Adams. 'Y'all need to get together, find out what's going on with your child.'
Police said two masked gunmen ambushed Brandon and his brother. Investigators haven't released any suspect names or a motive yet. Anyone with information is asked to call Crimestoppers at 822-1111.