William Lipscomb Sr. will tell you that Derek Walker was the type of guy who would give you the shirt off his back—literally.
Walker donated much of his 5-year-old son's clothing to Lipscomb's 3-year-old son, William III. Lipscomb held up his son to view Walker in the casket and whispered, "That's your neighbor."
Walker was shot to death by a Durham Police officer on Sept. 17 during an hour-long standoff at CCB Plaza in Durham. Walker, who had a gun, was allegedly suicidal.
Hundreds of friends and family came to Antioch Baptist Church to celebrate Walker's short life through stories of his humanity.
Wilma Liverpool (top photo, center right) comforted a stranger, a friend of the slain 26-year-old, at his casket. The two had met on the church steps moments before. The friend witnessed Walker's death and was too upset to view his body alone.
Liverpool never knew Walker, a mortician, before he died. She saw him for the first time at his wake and apologized for being unable to help him.
Ruby Mason (bottom photo, center front), Walker's kindergarten dance and drama teacher at Holloway Street elementary school, gave a side-splitting eulogy. The crowd stomped and wailed as she danced to an African beat back to the pews.
"Mr. Mortician," as it read on Walker's casket, was remembered well.
This article appeared in print with the headline "In the wake."