Viewing and funeral for Philly teen killed in Orlando

Katherine Scott Image
Friday, June 24, 2016
VIDEO: Akyra Murray funeral
A viewing and funeral was held Friday for a Philadelphia teenager killed in the Orlando massacre.

WEST PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A viewing and funeral was held Friday for a Philadelphia teenager killed in the Orlando massacre.

Eighteen-year-old Akyra Monet Murray was remembered by family and friends at the Monumental Baptist Church at 50th and Locust Streets in West Philadelphia.

The viewing got underway at 8 a.m., followed by a funeral service at 10 a.m.

"She just wanted to be the best," said Alex Murray, brother.

She ranked third in her graduating class at West Catholic, and was a star basketball player - a 1000-point scorer. She had determination, warmth, joy. A young woman excited to start a new adventure at Mercyhurst University in the fall, with a full athletic scholarship.

"Akyra's life was short and shining. It shined everywhere she went. It shined in the classroom. It shined in the community. And it shined on the basketball court," said Pastor Pamela Williams, Ark of Refuge Tabernacle Church.

But earlier this month, Akyra lost her life when a gunman stormed Pulse Nightclub in Orlando. Her friend, Patience Carter, was also shot in the massacre as was Akyra's cousin, Tiara Parker.

Tiara Park, a survivor of the Orlando shooting, speaks to Action News.

"Everything you've done for me will never be forgotten. It will never be forgotten," said Parker.

Many wore red - Akyra's favorite color. Her teammates wore basketball jerseys. Mayor Jim Kenney was joined by elected officials from the city and state who wanted to pay their respects.

"We embrace you Murray family, We embrace West Catholic Prep, we embrace West Catholic women's basketball and we love you all," said Kenney.

Through dance, through prayer, through song, there was sorrow and grief, but also joy for having known her.

"You will always be remembered. If I got to get up every day and run up and down these streets, and say Akyra Murray 342 million times to let them know who you are and what you've done," said Parker.

The names of the 48 other victims who were killed in the mass shooting were also read out loud.