As snow and hail lightly fell upon Altadena Saturday morning, at least 400 people attended the funeral service that was held for 18-year-old Brandon "Franchise" Jackson at the 1st Presbyterian Church on N. Lincoln Avenue.
The mourners came to show their support and love for the talented young junior at John Muir High School who was tragically taken from this world way too soon when he was after a party on Palm Street on Feb. 12.
The main auditorium was completely packed, as was the overflow room that had audio speakers set up. In addition, groups of people stood outside.
The atmosphere was extremely emotional, with many people unable to control their tears over this terrible loss. Most people who even agreed to speak to Patch declined to give their last names or wished to remain anonymous entirely.
One such man hit the nail on the head when he said anonymously, "He was a great kid. He didn't deserve this and that's all there is to it."
Another attendee, Darrell Gay, called Jackson the "sunshine of Altadena," adding, "He was a good guy and a motivational dude. He was part of the sunshine of this town."
When asked what measures can be taken to prevent senseless violence like this in the future, Gay said, "You can't prevent youth violence like this. You just can't, man."
Kelly, one of Jackson's classmates, said, "I never saw him down. I never saw him upset, even during the hardest times."
Jackson's nickname, "Franchise," was coined by one of his coaches, David Mitchell, according to Coach "T," who said, "We were blessed to have him every day."
Rev. Mark Buchanan, who officiated the service, spoke during his sermon about the importance of everyone in the community to "choose life, always choose life."
Jackson's family released a statement that read in part: "(We) respectfully acknowledge each of you for your acts of kindness, expressions of love, and many prayers during this difficult time."
Jackson was Benita Brown-King's fifth and last child, the youngest in a set of twins. According to family members, he was a practicing Christian who always had a smile on his face and always parted ways with someone by saying, "I love you," even if he had just been in an argument with the person.
He was very involved in numerous activities at Muir. He excelled on the Mustangs' football team, ran track, and played basketball for a traveling team. He was also a member of Mustangs on the Move and Outward Bound, two community outreach programs. He was recently presented the Mustangs Achievement Award for a 3.0 and above GPA and Student Athlete.
Following the service, the burial took place at Live Oak Memorial Park in Duarte and the repast took place back at Muir. One thing was crystal clear from watching this outpouring of emotion and grief: young, talented Jackson was taken away too soon for senseless reasons and he will be missed by many in the community.