Relatives and friends of slain teenager Precious Alex overflowed from the church where her funeral service was held Thursday, April 10 in the Anchorage community of Mountain View. Speakers at the service painted the picture of an intelligent, intensely loyal, and caring girl who was deeply loved by all who knew her. They also implored the audience to change -- to give up on violence, and to better the community.
The service was held at New Hope Baptist Church, and the building's nearly 300-person capacity was pushed to its limits. Additional seating was provided in the choir section and downstairs in a foyer that broadcast the service on a television monitor. Some people chose to stand in the church doorway.
A viewing of Alex in a half-open casket adorned with flowers, a sheer pink fabric and woven Samoan mat was held before the service. Alex was dressed in a tiara and a pink sequined dress. As the viewing began, grandmother Dana Sweatt began to shake and hyperventilate, causing a flurry of commotion in the front of the church. Medics were called and the viewing stopped while she was taken out on a stretcher by the Anchorage Fire Department. She returned before the service began, rejoining the family seated in the front row.
Hundreds poured into the church for the viewing as ushers scrambled to keep people from overflowing the room. With so many people waiting to see Alex, the viewing had to be cut short before the service, and it was taken up again after the service concluded.