Man whose death led to riots remembered as kind

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

BENTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- A motorcyclist whose death during a high-speed police chase sparked two nights of rioting was remembered as kind and loving at his funeral Monday.

More than 500 mourners filled Greater Faith Apostolic Church to pay their last respects to Terrance Shurn. About a third of them wore white T-shirts as an homage to the 27-year-old, whose nickname was "T-shirt."

The Rev. James Atterberry Jr. said that although Shurn's June 16 death and the rioting that followed in the impoverished city of Benton Harbor were tragic, positive changes already were taking place.

"Benton Harbor came together and now the whole world is listening to us," said Atterberry, a local pastor and member of the Berrien County Board of Commissioners. "Let us stop fighting. Let us stop hating one another. Let us start loving each other and saving our city."

White police officers in adjacent Benton Township chased Shurn, who was black, on his motorcycle into Benton Harbor. Shurn died when he lost control of his motorcycle and crashed into a vacant building, authorities said.

Hundreds of residents in predominantly black Benton Harbor rioted for two nights after Shurn died. At least 21 homes were destroyed, several people were injured and several police and fire vehicles were damaged.

Gov. Jennifer Granholm visited Benton Harbor on Thursday and promised to devote more resources to improving the lives of the city's residents.

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