Miami Gardens family mourns 17-year-old football star

Family gathers for Joshua Ancrum's viewing, funeral

By Christian De La Rosa - Reporter, Andrea Torres - Digital Reporter/Producer

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. - Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in Miami Gardens was full of grief Friday evening. 

The friends and family of Joshua Ancrum gathered for a viewing service before his funeral Satuday. His mother, Nitza Alvarez, kneeled on the road in tears shouting, "My baby!"

Alvarez said that had his childhood friend not shot the 17-year-old dead May 21 at a home in Miami Gardens, he would have been preparing to play football for Florida International University on a full scholarship. 

The shooting followed an argument over a video game, Alvarez said.

Windy Ancrum, Joshua's paternal grandmother, said she was proud of the Miami Norland High School graduate, who shined on the field while playing for the South Florida Express seven-on-seven football team. 

"I named him when he was born. When he came out of his mother's womb and he stood on that name, he represented that name: Joshua Abraham Ancrum," Ancrum said in tears, adding a message for her grandson: "You have made us proud."

Miami Gardens police Officer Carolyn Frazer said Jatwan Phillips faces a charge of aggravated manslaughter. She didn't say how the 16-year-old got a hold of the gun, but she did say it was important for adults to safely store their guns and "teach children about the importance of gun safety."

Outside of the church, Ancrum said she is tired of watching mothers grieving their teenagers because of gun violence. 

"It's time for a real change," Ancrum said, adding a message for the community: "Put the guns down!"

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