‘Big brother’ mourned by family and friends at funeral in West Philadelphia

Christian Massey murdered in Overbrook on November 30
Christian Massey died on Nov. 30 at age 21. Provided photo

A West Philadelphia church was packed Monday with more than 100 mourners gathered to pay tribute to a young man whose life was cut tragically short.

Christian Lamarr Massey, 21, was killed on Saturday, Nov. 30 in Overbrook in a murder which is still unsolved.

Left reeling are family members and friends who knew Massey as a unique spirit and truly kind person.

“He was my big brother. He taught me so much,” said Tamar Smith, who lived with Massey in a St. Francis group home.

Massey left behind many friends from Marple Newtown High School, from which he graduated in 2011. The school is creating a scholarship in Massey’s name.

“He was challenged in life, but he didn’t let life challenge him,” said Michael McGowan in his remarks during the funeral. McGowan coached Massey in basketball Special Olympics.

A month before he passed away, Massey told McGowan that he wanted to go to school to become a nurse.

Police say that Massey died at 5:36 p.m., a half hour after he was shot in an alley off Lebanon Avenue and 58th Street by a robber who wanted his brand new Beats by Dre headphones, which Massey refused to give up. The shooter did not take Massey’s headphones after shooting him.

Massey loved listening to hip hop music and always had his headphones on, friends at the funeral said. One decoration standing by Massey’s casket was in the design of a Beats headphone.

Police are now offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to Massey’s killer. They have reported no leads and no witnesses to the shooting.

“Our silence needs to be broken. We need to stop thinking this is just the way it is,” said Pastor Ronald Green of Hickman Temple A.M.E. Church in West Philadelphia during his sermon at the funeral.

Further memorial services are planned later this week.

The Don Guanella Village family, where Massey lived for a time, will hold a memorial service Wednesday night at 7 p.m. in the Carinal Krol Center gym.

On Friday, the Marple Newtown high school basketball team will honor Massey with a moment of silence at 7:30 p.m.

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Follow Sam Newhouse on Twitter: @scnewhouse

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