A heartbroken Brooklyn neighborhood turned out Friday for the wrenching funeral of Prince Joshua (P.J.) Avitto. More than 1,000 people piled into St. Paul Community Baptist Church in East New York, where P.J.’s 15-year-old sister, T’Andra Cunningham, promised that the little boy would never be forgotten.
She bid farewell to her slain Prince in a letter that turned a church into a house of tears.
“We had some good times and some bad times, but I’m glad we had any time together because you are my shining light,” 15-year-old T’Andra Cunningham wrote. “I want you to know my brother, my baby boy, you will never be forgotten and I will make sure of it, I promise.”
T’Andra’s heartbreaking words — a tribute to her 6-year-old brother, Prince Joshua (P.J.) Avitto — were read by a minister at the boy’s funeral at St. Paul Community Baptist Church.
Loud sobs echoed through the packed sanctuary in East New York, Brooklyn, where more than 1,000 people came to mourn a little boy who police say was killed by a knife-wielding maniac.
P.J.’s dad, Nicholas Avitto, burst into tears. The boy’s mom, Aricka McClinton, cried aloud. The rest of the relatives clung desperately to each other for support.
T’Andra said later at the family’s apartment at the Boulevard Houses that she was taken aback by the outpouring of emotion her words sparked.
“I know a lot of people don’t know my brother but they still came out and I wanted them to get a feeling … of how he was to me,” she told the Daily News.
P.J. was killed and his 7-year-old playmate Mikayla Capers was badly hurt Sunday when Daniel St. Hubert allegedly burst into their elevator and began slashing them with a steak knife.
There was a line of mourners several blocks long waiting to get into the church even before the combined wake and funeral service started.