Matthew Fortenberry funeral expense fund announced by BR leaders
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Baton Rouge leaders announced on Wednesday, March 22, the Matthew Fortenberry Funeral Expense Fund with b1Bank.
Fortenberry, 11, was shot and killed by a 17-year-old on Thursday, March 16, according to the Baton Rouge Police Department.
Police said following an altercation with another unidentified person, the 17-year-old suspect held Mathew, his mother, and others hostage in the car. The suspect is now behind bars.
“The last thing he told me was… dad, my grades are good. I was going to get him a cell phone. He has a PlayStation 5, and I was supposed to be bringing it to him this weekend, but I didn’t,” said Michael Fortenberry, the victim’s said. “This has to change, and it has to change quick.”
This new fund was established to assist the family with his funeral expenses.
District Attorney Hillar Moore, Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome, and Councilman Darryl Hurst spearheaded this effort.
Donations can be made at any b1Bank location. Cash and checks are accepted. You can locate the nearest b1Bank by calling 877-614-7600 or visit b1BANK.com
“Matthew is supposed to be standing where we are right now receiving a proclamation celebrating his basketball championship, yet we’re here talking about his funeral services and the ability to support this family so that we can take a burden off of them,” Hurst said.
Leaders felt it was important for the community to step up and become a resource for this family as leaders try to get a grip on the city’s crime problem.
“It’s a shame that in our country, in our state, in our city particularly, that young Black men die at the hands of a weapon more so than they do than any type of disease. I know all of us here are committed to stopping that and hopefully we can begin today with the loss of Matthew,” Moore said.
This is yet another example of a young person in the city dying from some kind of violence, but the district attorney wants to assure people that Baton Rouge is safe. He says there have been a recent decline in overall shootings and murders across East Baton Rouge Parish.
“Things are going in the right direction. So, we have to let people know that this is a bad event, but things overall are going in the right direction,” Moore said.
Michael Fortenberry says we have to continue to push for more change before another life is taken.
“I think a lot. I lose faith, but I know everything happens for a reason. I know my son is in a better place,” Fortenberry said.
Leaders announced a parade will be held at Glen Oaks Park Elementary School on April 29 to celebrate Matthew’s life. Councilman Hurst also plans to create a foundation in Matthew’s name to supports sports programs at the elementary school.
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