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Rayshard Brooks’ funeral will be held at church where MLK once preached after hundreds attend viewing

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The family and friends of Rayshard Brooks will honor his life in a private funeral service on Tuesday, a day after hundreds of people lined up to pay their respects at a public viewing.

A four-hour public viewing concluded Monday evening at historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. served as a co-pastor from 1960 until his assassination in 1968.

Hundreds of people waited in a long line to pay their respects to Brooks, CNN affiliate WSB reported.

Brandon Hooks attended the viewing with his 11-year-old son Braden. They were visiting from Alabama for Father’s Day and were at the nearby King Center to learn about the civil rights movement. He decided they should pay their respects when he found out Brooks’ viewing was happening across the street, he told WSB.

“It was emotional because that could be me, and I want him to realize and I want him to see that it could be him. I want him to understand the importance of what we’re going through,” Hooks said after leaving the church.

Manerva Harris, 42, waited in line using an umbrella to shield herself from intense afternoon sun.

“Not even a week after they had buried Mr. Floyd, now here we go where we have another Black family going through the same thing,” she told WSB. “It’s hard and it’s just crazy that we’re still living like this today.”

The casket arrived in a black and white funeral hearse. Attached to the side of the hearse was poster with a photo of Brooks that read “killed in Atlanta Georgia 2020.”

Tuesday’s private service will be held at 1 p.m. ET at Ebenezer, more than a week after the 27-year-old father was shot and killed by an Atlanta police officer.

King’s daughter, the Rev. Bernice A. King, will speak at Brooks’ funeral. The Rev. Raphael G. Warnock, the senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church and a Democratic candidate for US Senate, will provide the eulogy.

“Ebenezer is a parish for all people, a sanctuary for those who suffer,” Warnock said in a statement. “Rayshard was not a member of our church but he, and his loved ones, are a part of our family. We seek to embrace them, comfort them and walk beside them in the days ahead.”

Tyler Perry has offered to pay for the funeral arrangements, according to Brooks’ family attorney Chris Stewart and a news release. Gospel singers Smokie Norful, Tamela Mann and Kurt Carr are expected to perform at Tuesday’s service.

Brooks — a father of 3 young girls and a 13-year-old stepson — died after he was shot on June 12 by an Atlanta police officer, who had responded to a Wendy’s following reports that Brooks was asleep in his car in the drive-through lane.

Brooks failed a sobriety test, and when police tried to handcuff him, an altercation broke out. Brooks took one of the officers’ Tasers, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Video of the incident shows him running as he appears to turn and point the Taser in the direction of one of the officers, Garrett Rolfe, who fired his handgun, striking Brooks twice in the back.

Rolfe has been charged with felony murder and 10 other accounts. A second officer, Devin Brosnan, faces an aggravated assault charge for allegedly standing on Brooks’ shoulders as he lay dying in the parking lot.

Brooks’ death came not long after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, which sparked nationwide protests over racial injustice and law enforcement’s relationship with the Black community. The Brooks shooting also prompted the swift resignation of Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields.

The charges against the officers have their own apparent consequence: Some Atlanta Police officers have refused to report for work, leading to staffing shortages.

“The explanation for calling out sick varies and includes officers questioning their training, officers being challenged and attacked, and unease about officers seeing their colleague criminally charged so quickly,” interim Atlanta Police Chief Rodney Bryant said in a news conference Saturday.

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