Oscar Duncan Remembered by Family, Friends and Clergy at Venice Funeral

A heart-broken community gathers to say goodbye to Oscar Duncan during a three-hour funeral service that drew about 1,000 to First Baptist Church in Venice.

A heart-broken community gathered Friday to say goodbye to Oscar Patrice Duncan – a youth pastor, talented singer and dancer, role model, and "soldier of Christ" – who was killed June 4 in Venice in an allegedly gang-related shooting.

Duncan, a Venice native and 2006 graduate of Venice High School, was just 23 years old.

The three-hour funeral service at the First Baptist Church in the Oakwood section of Venice was attended by around 1,000 people, who packed an overflow room, filled chairs on the lawn, and gathered on the sidewalk to pay respects to the young man who touched so many. The arrangements were befitting a full-fledged sitting pastor. Duncan was serving as Youth Minister at Greater Zion Church Family in Compton at the time of his death.

The service began with a procession led by his family and included Scripture readings, a worship and praise dance, and vocal performances. Baptist pastors and ministers from throughout Los Angeles attended. Many of the pastors spoke inspiringly of God and Duncan with frequent interjections of "Amen" and "Hallelujah" punctuating their sermons. Friends and family concluded the service with personal remarks and stories about Duncan.

"This is the result when you live as a child of God," said pastor and service officiant Elder Allen, motioning to the crowded room.

Duncan served as president of Young Urban Leaders and dance instructor for the performing arts organization Positive Images of Self Expression. He also founded the J.O.E. ("Jesus Over Everything") movement, which guides young people to worship Jesus Christ. A t-shirt for the organization hung over his white casket adorned with flowers. Nearby, a row of photos commemorated his life. In one photo, Duncan poses in his uniform as captain of the Venice High School football team.

"When Oscar entered a room, he lit it up. Today, he's lighting up all of Venice - all of Venice is here," said his Venice High School football coach, Angelo Gasca.

"Oscar was heart personified, and he showed it to us, everyday," Gasca said. "Every day after practice he'd say, 'I love you coach,' and then he would tell all of his teammates the same thing. ... Our kids need to hear that more often," he said.

Duncan was remembered at the church across from the Oakwood Recreation Center park where he played youth basketball and baseball and football for the Venice Bulldogs.

Duncan became a member of the Boys & Girls Club of Venice at age 6 and in 2006 was given the club's highest individual honor when he was named "Youth of the Year." Duncan went on to work for the club as a youth counselor and was hired to work in the teen services department where he ran the audio engineering program and music studio.

"Every young person that he touched… he left a special imprint on all of them," said Erikk Aldridge, the executive director of the Boys and Girls Club of Venice.

Midway through his speech, Aldridge unbuttoned his shirt to reveal a Superman shirt, in memory of Duncan, who sometimes wore a Superman costume to church events. "He was Superman for everybody," he said.

During the testimonials, Duncan's friends also affectionately referred to him as "ChoirBoy," a stage name for his dancing and gospel-inspired hip-hop singing.

He first cultivated his love of singing as a member of the choir of Paradise Baptist Church in Los Angeles. He later joined the Faithful Central Bible Church in Inglewood and became a licensed minister in 2010 while serving for a ministry in Compton.

During the service, many family and friends referred to him as a soldier of Jesus Christ. "But he was not only a soldier, he was a general," said friend Antwon Williams.

Lanee Burns, one of Duncan's cousins, read an essay that a 13-year-old Duncan wrote for a high school English class. He titled the essay "Fate."

"Sometimes I wonder how my life is going to turn out. What is my fate, I want to know if my fate is to die young or old. .... No matter what, people don't know their fate and I am one of those people," Duncan wrote.

The essay was dated June 4, 2002, exactly 10 years to the date of his death.

"Oscar's fate," Burns said, "was to bring us all together."

Duncan was shot and killed June 4 about 10:30 p.m. in the 600 block of Santa Clara Avenue in a suspected gang-related shooting.

A suspected gang member, Kevin Dwayne Green, has been arrested and charged with murder with use of a gun and street gang allegations. He is being held on $2 million bail. A second suspect also was taken into custody, but no charges have been filed. Police said they were seeking four men seen in a white car the night of the shooting. The case remains under investigation.

Sylvia June 17, 2012 at 10:18 AM
This was indeed the most beautiful Home Going ceremony I've ever attended! Pastor Fisher gave an amazing eulogy! I'm sure Oscar was pleased when the young people stepped up yo give their lives to Christ, after all this is what he was about & what everyone SHOULD be about! Minister Tont Muhammad of the Nation of Islam spoke powerful words, I was truly moved. I pray for the souls of those responsible for taking the lives of Oscar, it's never too late for repentance!
Max Bean June 17, 2012 at 02:07 PM
my heart goes out to his family
Spirit Of Venice June 17, 2012 at 06:21 PM
Rest In Peace, Brother Man.
tijera chester June 19, 2012 at 11:39 PM
its really sad that another young blck man has be killed by gang violence when is it goin to stop i had meet ocsar about a moth before his death an he prayed with me . i also had seenhim a week before he was killed . a young man of god an a nother man wants to kills him im happy those men were caught but it wont bring the son of god home to . his family and friends he had a long life ahead of him am its crazy he wrote a essay tenn yars to the date of his death rest in peace oscar u are a solider in the army of the lord
azu chavez November 10, 2013 at 03:41 AM
it took me sometime to said this out loud, but it was shocking to hear one my good friend from high school been shot and killed.....Oscar Duncan, you will always live my heart...Love you and miss you so much...i cant believe this happen to you! i will always treasure those wonderful, funny memories we had during our high school years with me always... i would never forget how you always had a way to make me smile....my heart goes out for the family of Oscar Duncan... You will always be love and missed my friend..Love where ever you are in Heaven...."ALWAYS CLASS OF 2006"


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