By Nona Tepper
A Chicago man faces a felony weapons charge, after bringing his gun to a rowdy funeral at Forest Home Cemetery on June 3, according to a report from the Forest Park Police Department.
Police responded to a call of multiple shots fired at about 2:05 p.m. on June 3 at Forest Home Cemetery, 863 Desplaines Ave. While police say their investigation concluded that no shots were fired, witnesses said they saw at least 10 individuals pointing guns at one another.
Inside the cemetery, police saw two men walking toward them. A black .40-caliber pistol fell on the ground between them and one of the men, Davion Seaberry, reached down to pick it up.
Officers yelled for the 19-year-old Seaberry, of Chicago, to put the weapon down and get on the ground. Seaberry reportedly put the gun in his waistband. Officers repeated the order several times and, eventually, Seaberry complied and lay prone on the ground. The other man ran away from the scene.
Police say they recovered the semi-automatic handgun from Seaberry and transported him to the station. There, he told police he was at Forest Home Cemetery for the burial service for a friend from the West Side of Chicago who was shot in a gang-related incident.
Seaberry reportedly said he found the gun in an alley in Chicago about two months earlier, and brought it to Forest Home Cemetery for protection, since he was afraid of gang retaliation.
At the service, Seaberry reportedly told police, multiple people got into an argument and "almost the entire group" pulled out guns. Seaberry said he felt scared and started walking out of the cemetery.
He said he was walking so fast that the gun fell out of his waistband and that he did not immediately answer police requests because he did not hear them shouting.
He said he has never held a firearm owners identification card or a concealed carry permit. The Cook County State's Attorney's Office approved charging Seaberry with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, which is a felony. He was also charged with unlawful possession of a firearm.
Police Chief Tom Aftanas said that, when he arrived, a large number of vehicles were attempting to exit the cemetery -- at least 25, many with five passengers inside. Several of the vehicles swerved through traffic, with passengers hanging out the windows.
Oak Park, River Forest and Berwyn police helped with traffic control on Desplaines Avenue, and officers recorded license plate numbers; police will send the vehicle owners tickets in the mail for local ordinance violations.
Aftanas did not specify what violations they would be ticketed for. Often those found participating in rowdy funeral processions are ticketed for violating the village's funeral ordinance, which states "each driver in a funeral or other procession shall drive as near to the right hand edge of the roadway as practical and safe." They can also be ticketed for violating Forest Park's negligent driving ordinance.
"Everybody started to flee, it seems like, when these people started displaying guns so, at that point, the service was over, so everybody had to leave to go back to wherever they live at," Aftanas said.