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10/07/18 11:17am
10/07/2018 11:17 AM

At 11 a.m. Saturday, about a hundred people began slowly walking up Old Quogue Road in Riverside, from the Galilee Church of God in Christ to the street sign at the Flanders Road intersection.

That’s where a second sign was unveiled, giving the street the honorary designation of “Pastor Roy L. Pennon, Sr. Way.”  READ

06/23/15 5:42pm
06/23/2015 5:42 PM
(Photo by Stephen Melkisethian/flickr)

All the across the country, people are mourning and holding vigils like this one in Washington, D.C. A local vigil is planned for Monday in Greenport. (Photo by Stephen Melkisethian/flickr)

Lela Heyward received a phone call at midnight last Wednesday from her hometown of Charleston, S.C. She couldn’t believe the news.

Although her nephew didn’t belong to Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, he knew many people there and had just paid a visit the week before.

He called to say there had been a mass shooting at the historic black church and that he was devastated. The church’s pastor was among the dead.

Ms. Heyward, whose husband, the Rev. Nathaniel Heyward, is pastor at Clinton Memorial AME Zion Church in Greenport, said that although she grew up with segregation and left Charleston after high school in 1961, her hometown and its Baptist church have never left her heart.

“I went through the struggles — I had to go out the back door, drink from a separate water fountain and sit at the back of the bus,” she said Monday. “I never felt threatened in church. I always thought of it as a safe place. I’m really hurt and can’t believe it.”


02/02/13 6:00pm
02/02/2013 6:00 PM
BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO  |  Pallbearers carrying the casket out of the Galilee Church of God in Christ Saturday.

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Pallbearers carrying the casket out of Galilee Church of God in Christ Saturday.

“There is a little more joy in heaven this morning.”

Those were the words offered by a loving uncle, saying goodbye to his nephew, far too soon.

More than 400 mourners filled the Galilee Church of God in Christ Saturday to celebrate the life of 21-year-old Demitri Hampton, who was shot and killed early this past Sunday.

“If you look around this room, you can see the testament to who my nephew was,” said Mr. Hampton’s uncle, Tom.

Mr. Hampton will best be remembered for his “love, laughter, courage and swag,” said Mr. Hampton’s aunt, Jackie. “He enjoyed bringing laughter to every family occasion,” and when the family would join in song, he would sing all the wrong words, always looking for a laugh, she said.

RELATED: Family, friends remember Demitri on social media

As Mr. Hampton played video games around 3 a.m. Jan. 27, two armed men broke through the front door of his cousin’s Priscilla Avenue home in Flanders. Determined to protect his sleeping girlfriend and family, he fought with the intruders and was shot in his chest. He later died at Peconic Bay Medical Center. No arrests have been made and Suffolk County detectives are still investigating.

“It is not wrong to try and protect the house,” said pastor Roy Pennon, speaking to Mr. Hampton’s courage that night.

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO  |  Demitri Hampton's cousin Latisha Diego (center) is helped by other mourners as she goes up to view the casket for the final time before it is closed.

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Demitri Hampton’s cousin Latisha Diego (center) is helped by other mourners as she goes up to view the casket for the final time before it is closed.

“We are praying for you, and pray for our president, that he can get this gun thing under control,” said pastor T.J. Williams Jr., Mr. Hampton’s childhood pastor from First Church of Christ in Bridgehampton, referring to the “senseless” way Mr. Hampton was killed.

“You raised a good child, on his way to great things,” pastor Williams added. Mr. Hampton, a Riverhead High School alum, was scheduled to graduate Suffolk County Community College in May 2013.

“Honor him by living a life of value, with integrity,” Mr. Hampton’s uncle said. “Get your education and keep God first.”

With tear-filled eyes, and love-filled hearts Mr. Hampton’s mother, Juanita Trent, and father Theodore “Teddy” Trent, listened while assistant pastor Byron Preston delivered a eulogy, bringing them, and the rest of the church to its feet, in celebration of Mr. Hampton’s life.

As the sun shined brightly through church windows, the choir sang “Soon and Very Soon.” Six pallbearers carried Mr. Hampton’s coffin down the church aisle.

“He was just a real asset to the community and always made his parents proud. And he is going to be missed,” said Sandra Richards, whose son was close friends with Mr. Hampton. “People don’t realize the ripple effect that happens when you take a life. It’s not just family, it’s friends, the whole community.”

Mike Heigh, who has known Mr. Hampton since he was little, said to remember Demitri’s smile and laughter.

“On a rainy day, he is the sun trying to break though,” Mr. Heigh said. “At the point that the sun actually comes through — that’s him, that’s Demitri.”

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Note: A Memorial Service will be held at Suffolk County Community College’s eastern campus on Monday at 11 a.m. and is open to all.

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO  |  Demitri Hampton's family in the front row: (from right) brother Jamal Davis, parents Juanita and Theodore 'Teddy' Trent, and sister Jennifer Davis.

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Demitri Hampton’s family, (from right) brother Jamal Davis, parents Juanita and Theodore ‘Teddy’ Trent and sister Jennifer Davis at Saturday’s wake and funeral mass.

08/25/12 2:00pm
08/25/2012 2:00 PM

TIM GANNON PHOTO | Lillian Pennon, Dorothy Exum and Tonja Jackson give out school supplies at Saturday’s Anti-Violence Block Party.

The Galilee Church of God in Christ held its annual “Anti-Violence Block Party” outside the church on Old Quogue Road in Riverside Saturday, and gave out free school supplies and backpacks to more than 100 kids.

“We’ve been doing this for about 15 years,” said Lillian Pennon, the coordinator of the event as well as the wife of church paster Dr. Roy Pennon Sr. “We started out small scale, but the event has grown.”

The party, which runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., had a moon bounce, free hot dogs and hamburgers, face painters and a basketball hoop, as well as free school supplies and backpacks.

“We started the block party a few years ago because there was so much violence, and a lot of it was on Old Quogue Road,” Ms. Pennon said. “So we decided to have a block party with no violence, where people can just get together and have fun.”

While Old Quogue Road has had a bad reputation over the years, Ms. Pennon says it’s getting better.

“It’s a nice neighborhood,” she said. “We get along so well. There’s a lot of nice new people living here.”

The church and Southampton Town’s recreation department originally started the event, and both are still involved, only this year, the Order of the Eastern Star of Tyre Lodge No. 62 in Riverside is also involved, she said.

“We were going to do our own school supply drive and then we found out that the church was doing it too, we decided that instead of doing it separately, we would do it together,” said Dorothy Exum of the Eastern Star. “And combined with the block party, it was better that way.”

“We usually hold this the week before school starts,” Ms. Pennon said. “The whole object is to let the kids have fun, and the biggest thing is that we give out school supplies. A lot of children when they start school, they don’t have first day school supplies.”

Originally, the party was much smaller and provided school supplies to about 20 to 25 kids, Ms. Pennon said. Now, they have more than 100 backpacks and enough school supplies to accommodate more than 100 kids, she said.

“It’s just an effort to help the children on their first day because a lot of them when they go to school, they don’t have stuff and that makes them feel bad,” Ms. Pennon said. “This way, they go in and they’ve got their pencils and crayons and stuff and it makes them feel good.”

A lot of businesses and vendors in town donated money or supplies to the party, Ms. Pennon said.

TIM GANNON PHOTO | Kids got a chance to play some hoops at Saturday’s Anti-Violence Block Party.

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