RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Friends and family of 3-year-old Sharmar Hill Jr. gathered for an open-casket funeral service Monday afternoon.
Sharmar Jr.’s favorite superhero, ‘PJ Masks,’ adorned his ‘homegoing service’ at the New Life Deliverance Tabernacle on Decatur Street. The 3-year-old’s favorite ‘PJ Masks’ stuffed animal was placed inside his tiny bright blue casket.
Sharmar ‘Simba’ Hill Jr. was shot while playing outside with friends in Hillside Court on Saturday, Feb. 1.
Over 200 people were in attendance, including Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney and Richmond Police Chief William Smith.
“Sharmar made an impact in his short life,” Gov. Northam said. “Looking at this crowd of people here today, I know he was loved. That love doesn’t go away because he is no longer with us. That love is what will comfort you through this. Sharmar Hill Jr. Will be missed but not forgotten.”
Sharmar Hill Sr. gave an emotional speech during his toddler’s funeral service. He said he’s taking comfort knowing Sharmar Jr. will always be with him.
“He changed my life. He’s my hero. I pray to God that he gives us the strength and gives us the wings to join our son in Heaven today,” Hill Sr. said.
The toddler’s homegoing service was about honoring Sharmar Jr.’s life and turning sorrow into celebration.
During the funeral, Sharmar Sr. got down on one knee and proposed to Shaniqua Allen, the toddler’s mother, proclaiming he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her.
Richmond City Councilwoman Ellen Robertson of the 6th District apologized to Sharmar Jr.’s parents, saying that no one should lose their child in such a violent way.
“On behalf of the city of Richmond, I extend an apology to you that your child didn’t have a safe place to play,” Councilwoman Robertson said.
Today I know that our faith is being tested. Especially when someone’s life can be counted in months, not years. Sharmar Hill was 39 months old, he was just a baby. We are left to make sense of yet another senseless act. This isn’t just a violent shooting, we have been robbed. Who knows what hero he could have been for our city. God alone can’t fix this, our thoughts, prayers and actions can.”Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney
Mayor Stoney made a pledge to Hill’s family, saying that the city will do everything in their power to bring the perpetrators to justice.
“We will never give up,” Stoney said while looking at Shamar Jr.’s parents.
Richmond Police continue to investigate Sharmar Jr.’s death. Anyone with information is asked to contact Major Crimes Detective J. Fultz at (804) 646-3929 or contact Crime Stoppers at (804) 780-1000 or at www.7801000.com.
8News Reporter Talya Cunningham attended Monday’s ceremony and will have a full report tonight on 8News at 5 & 6.