Brawl erupts during funeral: 'I just went into prayer'

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SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – One man has been charged after violence erupted during a funeral Saturday in Shreveport, Louisiana, for the victim of a shooting.

It happened just before noon at Peaceful Rest Baptist Church during services for 24-year-old Orlando Puryear, Jr., who was fatally shot July 4 in southwest Shreveport.

Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office says Puryear’s 52-year-old uncle, Endrick Butler, started a fight.

“I noticed the guy up in the second balcony up there, and he was standing over a guy,” said a woman who witnessed the brawl. “I didn’t know what they were doing. And then all of a sudden, I saw him choke this young man and then he pushed the young man down in the chair and started pounding on him.”

The witness says the brawl lasted close to six minutes.

“When I fell down to the ground, I was crying and I just went into prayer,” she recalled. “About three, four other guys ran up and jumped over chairs; then they all started beating on this person, and they started throwing chairs.”

She says it happened right after the eulogy.

“Pastor Jones made an announcement at church that we would not be going to the cemetery today.”

The church was then evacuated.

“We was shocked. It’s like, we didn’t know which way to go. We was just in shock that this had even happened.”

Butler was arrested for disturbing the peace, as police say the victim did not want to press charges

Caddo deputies responded to Saturday’s brawl because they were there to provide security for Puryear’s funeral.

Puryear was one of four people shot on July 4 in a rolling shootout between two cars. The remaining three victims were expected to recover. No arrests have been made, but Shreveport police say the shooting remains under investigation.

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