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'He Was A Real-Life Star': Hundreds Celebrate Deshaun Hill's Life At Memorial Service

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- A celebration of life was held Tuesday for a 15 year-old who was the pride of Minneapolis' north side.

Hundreds came out to support the family of Deshaun Hill as they laid him to rest. The teen was shot and killed earlier this month, a homicide that sent a shock wave of pain through the community and city.

Inside the Lindquist Sanctuary on the campus of North Central University, a community is present, hurt on the inside but determined to be there for a family in mourning.

"I continue to thank y'all for letting share him with us," said Coach Chris.

Video monitors and cardboard collages showed pictures of Deshaun Hill Jr.; the life he lived, and the lives he touched. From coaches to teachers, classmates and teammates, the pain of this loss is overwhelming because they all knew how special "DHill" was.

"He was so much more than just a football player," Coach Chris said. "He was a real-life star. Like in life he was beyond a leader, he was just inspirational as what a young man should be."

An "A" honor roll student, a stand-out athlete, a loving son, an incredibly patient older brother, and a role model. DHill is remembered as a young man who did everything right; a teenager who had big dreams and a family who loved and supported him through it all.

"He loved being a leader without demanding a large crowd. He loved being busy, loved being productive," Bishop Richard Howell said. "You know why? His family can attest to this -- he was dedicated, passionate, humble, funny, intelligent and helpful."

Deshaun Hill
Deshaun Hill (credit: The Hill Family)

During his memorial service, everyone spoke about DHill's connection to community. His time spent at Lucy Laney Community School and North Community High School made him a local hero -- an example of what you could accomplish with hard work, determination and the support of the village. A village that expressed its love for DHill and the parents who raised him.

"I thank you guys for coming into our lives. I thank you for taking my son on as your own and I just love you guys," said Heather Brooks, mother of DHill's best friend. "And if it wasn't for you we wouldn't be here, [my son] wouldn't be playing sports and he wouldn't have As and Bs, so thank you guys so much."

During the memorial the family announced the creation of the Deshaun Hill Jr. Foundation, which will offer scholarships to scholar-athletes at North High.

Gov. Tim Walz also declared Tuesday Deshaun Hill Jr. Day across the state of Minnesota.

Just hours before the start of Hill's memorial service, prosecutors charged a 29-year-old Minneapolis man with second-degree murder in connection to his death. The criminal complaint states that Cody Fohrenkam can be seen on surveillance video before and after the deadly shooting on Feb. 9.

Prosecutors say the video shows Hill walking on Golden Valley Road near Penn Avenue North. Fohrenkam is seen passing Hill on the sidewalk, "possibly close enough to brush shoulders." Fohrenkam stops and then three shots are heard.

Witnesses say they saw Fohrenkam running away from the area. He told investigators he was there looking for someone who stole his phone.

Fohrenkam is scheduled in court at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.

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