Speakers at the funeral of Osaze Osagie talked about his smile, his hugs and his deep faith in God. Several hundred people attended the funeral on Saturday of the 29-year-old black man shot by State College police on March 20.
Attendees were given a white rose as they entered State College Alliance Church.
The crowd filled the 500-seat worship space and more than 100 people watched the service through a video feed in the lobby of the church. A band sang worship hymns.
Pastor Harold McKenzie from Unity Church of Jesus Christ in State College read a statement from Osagie's parents, Sylvester and Iyun Osagie.
“Osaze’s life was cut short in midstream. He has been abruptly, permanently and devastatingly taken away from us. But we are not without hope. God’s good plan will be accomplished, even through this experience. The one thing Osaze sought most was to live in the house of the lord all the days of his life, delighting in God’s presence. We are fortunate to have received the privilege to share his life. He carried no grudge. He was a man of peace, a man of God. He has gone home resting in the presence of his lord and savior, Jesus Christ. The work of bringing peace to a troubled world remains for us to do. But we are confident that God’s purpose will be accomplished right here on earth in the land of the living. We are grateful for the support of our community and are indebted to so many others worldwide.”
McKenzie said that Osagie was unique in that his belief in God started at a very young age. He said Osagie would often pray instead of going out to play. Because of his faith, his siblings nicknamed him “Man of God.”
“From an early age it could be told that Osaze was different. And he wasn't different – and I want us to understand – his difference was not there because of the illness that he battled,” McKenzie said. “It was because God’s hand was on this young man’s life in a unique and powerful way.”
Osagie was autistic. He was shot by State College police who came to his apartment for a mental health check, requested by his father. Osagie reportedly confronted police with a knife. The shooting is the first known fatal police shooting by State College Borough Police.
McKenzie said the community is hurting, frustrated and asking questions.
“How could this happen? And why did this happen? Could there have been another way? Did race have any influence in the outcome?” McKenzie said. “A real reality is that whatever answers we get, even if they’re correct and true, can they ever be enough to take away any hurt or any pain that we feel?”
The family’s pastor, Zac McDonald, from State College Access Church, said he’d know the Osagie family since he was in middle school. He shared the last text Osagie sent to his mother.
Osagie wrote to her: “Also remember to always repent if you feel you have done wrong and forgive those who have wronged you.”
Osagie was buried after the funeral service at Pine Hall Cemetery in State College.